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Police hunt down Mawarire

Pastor Evan Mawarire, #ThisFlag campaign leader, has been summoned by the Law and Order Section of the Criminal Investigations Department amid speculation that government wants to charge him again for subverting a constitutionally elected government.

By Wongai Zhangazha

Pastor Evan Mawarire
Pastor Evan Mawarire

His lawyer Harrison Nkomo confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent his client has been told to report at Harare Central Police Station on Tuesday.

Mawarire, who is in South Africa, was arrested a fortnight ago for inciting public violence. The charges were, however, changed to subverting a constitutionally elected government when he appeared in court resulting in regional magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe dismissing the case.

Prior to his arrest, Mawarire had used the social media to mobilise people to stay-away from work on July 6, as a protest against rising corruption, abuse of office by public officials and economic problems. The stay-away, which came at a time government had failed to pay workers on time, was largely successful countrywide.

Nkomo said: “Yes they called me and told me that I should make arrangements that I bring my client at the Law and Order offices at Harare Central Police Station on August 2. They said they wanted him for an interview, but it looks like they want to charge him with subverting a constitutionally elected government.”

The summoning of Mawarire comes at a time President Robert Mugabe is continuing to issue threats against the pastor.

On Wednesday, while addressing party supporters at Zanu PF headquarters, Mugabe said he would not tolerate “nonsense” from people like Mawarire. He also threatened Mawarire during the burial of former chief secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Charles Utete on July 19.

“We know how to deal with our enemies who have tried to bring regime change. Once you begin to interfere with politics you are courting trouble. Keep to your religious side. Zanu will not tolerate any nonsense. I am warning Mawarire…bhaibheri mapedza here (have you finished reading the bible),” Mugabe said.

The police arrested Mawarire after getting a warrant to search his house, alleging that he had stolen a baton stick and police helmet with the intention to incite violence.

However, Chikwekwe dismissed the case, accusing the state of failing to put its house in order, freeing Mawarire on the day that saw thousands of people from all walks of life stage protests and a vigil outside the courthouse.

Thousands of Zimbabweans thronged the Harare Magistrates’ Court in solidarity with him when he appeared before Chikwekwe.

He, however, fled to South Africa after his release.

In interviews with the South African media, he has indicated he would remain holed up in that country as he feared for his life following Mugabe’s threats.

At Utete’s burial, Mugabe questioned whether Mawarire was a “true preacher”, adding that he should leave Zimbabwe and settle in the countries, which were sponsoring him.

Mawarire said because of the threats he had received, he was deciding whether to return home or not.

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