Planned shutdown to win battle against corruption
ACCIDENTAL activist Evan Mawarire, the man behind the #ThisFlag campaign in Zimbabwe, said the next step in the battle against corruption, injustice and poverty was their planned two-day shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday.
Speaking from a safe house in Harare yesterday, he said he was overjoyed at the “silent statement” of ordinary Zimbabweans who made the shutdown campaign on Wednesday a triumph.
At the heart of the cam- paign are three demands, including an end to corruption, injustice and poverty.
Among the issues are the prompt payment of civil servants, the removal of police road blocks, the scrapping of proposed introduction of bond notes, and the scrapping of the import ban.
“I never thought I would be someone living from safe house to safe house like I am now, and I still don’t think of myself as an activist.
“It started as something of a personal struggle, but it got to a point where I realised that there was nobody willing to do what I did without getting paid.
“That’s when I made and posted that first YouTube video days after Zimbabwe’s Independence Day on April 20,” he said.
Within days of his impassioned speech, his YouTube video had well over 100 000 views. People responded in their hundreds, posting selfies with the Zimbabwean flag under the #ThisFlag hashtag.
The government was caught off guard without effective ways to clamp down on the spread of information.
Even with news on Wednesday morning of disruptions in messaging services like Whatsapp being blocked, the international community reposted links and instructions to use alternative communication tools.
“We want our country back. We want to reclaim our Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is ready for a new generation of rulers and leaders.
“I want a country that is built on fresh ideas, ideas that can be challenged, debated and developed. I believe people will rise, they will stop being fear- ful because enough is enough,” Mawarire said.
Now that the momentum has started, Mawarire said he was not about to back down. But he doesn’t support a violent approach.
“We cannot fight this battle with violence, because we cannot teach our children that violence is a solution. If we turn to violence, I will walk away,” he said.
For now, he said, he would stand, waving his flag silently, trusting “that good winds everywhere will carry my message to where it will be heard”.