In a moment of deep frustration this April, Evan Mawarire, a pastor based in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare, set his camera to record. Draped in the Zimbabwean flag, the emotional 39-year-old looked into the lens and spoke for over 4 minutes about his weariness at what he saw as the government’s failures and broken promises of liberation.As he posted the video online, he could never have imagined the response. Within a day, the video had reportedly been viewed 120,000 times and soon the hashtag #ThisFlag was trending as other Zimbabweans emulated the pastor in posting their own grievances.
– Zimbabwean journalist Problem Masau writing for African Arguments
In recent months, long-held anger and frustration amongst Zimbabweans – at home and abroad – has been bubbling over and showing itself in protests by different groups, all united in their desire to rid the country of erstwhile leader Robert Mugabe and his bandit friends.
Government corruption is rife while the deteriorating economy is punishing citizens. Human rights abuses are common place with the threat of intimidation, abduction and even death looming over dissenters such as journalists. According to The Standard newspaper, this potent mix is “a ticking time bomb which could spark social unrest“. Could this be Zimbabwe’s ‘Arab Spring?’ It’s entirely possible. Zimbabweans have clearly had enough.
President Robert Mugabe, who is now aged 92, has been in office since Independence in 1980 (read my review of one of his biographies). It would be foolish to assume that his exit will resolve the deep-rooted problems faced by Zimbabwe. There’s also the big issue of who takes over from him. That yet-to-be concluded contest has been colourful and unsettling at times. We must remember that liberation movements are notorious for disappointing their followers – think Ukraine and the Arab Spring. That said, none of this justifies ZANU-PF’s failure to govern Zimbabwe in the interests of its citizens.
Something is afoot in Zimbabwe but we don’t know what the final outcome will be.
Pray for Zimbabweans everywhere and show your support.