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Exile or Cowardice: #ThisFlag Loses Momentum after Mawarire‘s Relocation

ThisFlag hash tag initiator, Evan Mawarire, has decided to live in self-imposed exile, fearful of threats on his life. When he left Zimbab...

ThisFlag hash tag initiator, Evan Mawarire, has decided to live in self-imposed exile, fearful of threats on his life.

When he left Zimbabwe for South Africa, immediately after he was freed by Harare magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe, on charges of trying to subvert President Robert Mugabe’s government. 

 The cleric claimed he was not running away from his tormentors, but was only fulfilling pre-arranged commitments.

He has featured on several foreign television channels, highlighting his persecution in Zimbabwe; his dream for a new Zimbabwe etc. 

Throughout, he had insisted that he would be returning home to pick up the pieces from where he left.
Pastor Evan Mawarire in Soweto, South Africa 

But following President Mugabe’s threatening address at Charles Utete’s burial last week, Mawarire changed his tune — he won’t be coming back home any time soon. 

When he met war veterans, political detainees and collaborators at his party’s headquarters in Harare last week, President Mugabe was even more scathing on his attacks on Mawarire and other clerics.

As a result, Mawarire now fears for his life, and the safety of his young family to the point of going into self-imposed exile. We really don’t have a problem with his decision because that is his democratic right.

It will be inconsiderate on our part to plead with him to come back home lest something bad happens to him. That might haunt us forever. We, however, find it regrettable that many of our people are running away from home in the hope that their problems could be wished away.

There are now more than four million Zimbabweans abroad who left their homes for various reasons, among them safety concerns.

While we appreciate their solidarity even from many miles away, a point needs to be emphasised that it will take Zimbabweans on home soil to change their own socio-economic circumstances.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main Movement for Democratic Change has been beaten, arrested, and at one point charged with high treason, but that didn’t break his pursuit for what he believes in. Tendai Biti has trudged that same path, but it hasn’t flattened his resolve; he is still very much in the game through his People’s Democratic Party.

Many in the opposition and civic society also have their stories to tell.

Even the current leadership, never mind its current shortcomings, had to make enormous sacrifices to bring about the country’s independence. Many lives were lost, thousands wounded, and families displaced as they took up arms to dislodge the colonial regime.

Today, Zimbabwe faces a different kind of struggle to bring about socio-economic justice to many citizens who are struggling to make ends meet. Only Zimbabweans themselves can win this struggle; not by running away from our motherland, but facing up to these challenges head on.

The birth of #ThisFlag campaign under Mawarire had rekindled interest in many citizens, who had become disinterested in politics. Without Mawarire leading from the front, it may only be a matter of time before that momentum is lost unless another courageous “Joshua” emerges to take up the challenge. - The Financial Gazette 

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