WHILE President Robert Mugabe might have heaved a sigh of relief following reports that #ThisFlag founder, Evan Mawarire had left the country, the Zanu PF leader’s respite could be short-lived, as the cleric is plotting a massive demonstration when the veteran ruler attends the United Nations General Assembly next month.
According to the Washington Post, Mawarire told his audience of mainly expatriate Zimbabweans in Atlanta this week that he “might stop by the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington to discuss the government’s plan to replace the Zimbabwean currency with a bond pegged to the US dollar”.
“Mawarire also revealed plans for a major demonstration at the annual UN General Assembly gathering in New York next month, saying he hoped to organise, the biggest protest ever (by expatriates) outside of Zimbabwe,” the Washington Post reported.
The UN General Assembly will begin on September 13 and Mugabe is expected to attend.
Mawarire did not, according to the report, directly respond to questions on whether he had plans to return to Zimbabwe, where the government has indicated it is willing to “interview him”.
He, however, said his movement would continue to pressure Mugabe ahead of elections expected in 2018, but ruled out “violent protests”, despite claims by Mugabe he had called for violence.
“My faith teaches us that violence only begets violence. Whatever we obtain by violence, we would have to maintain by violence,” Mawarire was quoted as saying.
The cleric started and led the new social movement demanding that Mugabe addresses rampant corruption and drops plans to introduce bond notes, as well as reverse a ban on the importation of basic commodities.
He was arrested, but was freed on a technicality.
The cleric immediately left the country and has been on an international tour that has brought mixed feelings among his supporters and critics alike.
Meanwhile, Kadoma-based businessmen, Munyaradzi Matombo and Zivanai Mavesere have vowed to continue the fight.
“President Mugabe, we have consistently invited you to Kadoma to talk to us, but you have refused. I am a Zimbabwean seeking your attention, unafraid and I am not running away,” Matombo said in a number of videos that went viral on social media.
He scoffed at Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s threats to citizens over growing protests against the government and argued Mawarire had done nothing wrong.
“The idea of having senior army officials threatening us is a no-brainer. Zimbabweans are not happy. Those close to you are not telling you the truth. You must set things right. Evan (Mawarire) has done nothing wrong. He must be allowed to come back to the country. We are not happy; we cannot be expected to run away from our country,” Matombo said.
Mugabe, addressing mourners at the burial of a national hero recently, declared Mawarire “should find another country”.
Matombo said Mugabe was being ill-advised by his acolytes.
“You would rather call us your enemies because we are pointing out the bad governance and corruption going on. We had our own things, but now we have become destitute. Black entrepreneurs have been
impoverished, we had local transport operators, some of them your relatives. I suppose you have forgotten about them,” he continued.
“Now the people you call local businessmen are Chinese nationals. We will continue to say the truth even if it means dying for the people of this country. No army general will bully us. The $15 billion would have served all of us, but a few benefited.”
Matombo accused Mugabe’s senior officials of lying to him.
“The intelligence is telling you lies. They just give you reports that mean nothing. You must dissolve the government and call for elections, even in December, so that we clean up this government,” he said.
“Those close to you claim we have rebelled against your government. We have been brutalised and bullied by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the National Social Security Authority as emerging businesspeople. We need the President’s intervention.”