Southern Africa

Pastor who criticised Mugabe is acquitted of subversion

Pastor Evan Mawarire. Photo: Twitter

A pastor accused of “urg[ing] a violent removal” of former President Robert Mugabe’s government was acquitted of all charges on 29 November.

Pastor Evan Mawarire, a leading opposition acitvist,  left the courtroom triumphantly draped in Zimbabwe’s flag and tweeted to his supporters to join him in “building a better Zimbabwe.”

His #ThisFlag movement was able to galvanise Zimbabwean Christians to protest the mismanagement and repression under the former president.

His supporters see this verdict as a symbolic victory for their movement, especially since it is only a few days after President Mugabe was forced to resign on 21 November after a peaceful “coup” by the army and pressure from his ruling party.

The pastor described his ordeal as “absurd,” commenting that “a lot more needs to be seen for us to determine” if Zimbabwe’s judiciary will become more independent in the post-Mugabe world.

The new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has promised a “new era of democracy.”