Coward or patriot? Some Zimbabweans wary of Pastor Mawarire for ‘running away’

Do we support him again or don’t we? That’s the question some Zimbabweans are asking as they’re faced once again with the detention of the protest pastor who not so long ago symbolised the nation’s hopes for change.

Source: Coward or patriot? Some Zimbabweans wary of Pastor Mawarire for ‘running away’ | News24

Harare – Do we support him again or don’t we?

That’s the question some Zimbabweans are asking as they’re faced once again with the detention of the protest pastor who not so long ago symbolised the nation’s hopes for change.

Evan Mawarire spent a second night in custody on Thursday after being arrested at Harare’s main airport a day earlier and charged with trying to subvert – overthrow, in other words – the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Arguments are raging on social media over whether or not the #ThisFlag leader should be sympathised with or steered clear of. It’s clear some believe he let them down by fleeing into exile last July.

The word “coward” keeps coming up.

Echoing many, commentator Vic Shona posted to the #ThisFlag Facebook community page: “Eish. Will back [Mawarire] though he was coward back then. He left us in open space. Many of us felt cheated.”

Zimbabwean Shepherd Kawara was more critical. “Fooling us! when the pan gets hot u run away.” On Twitter, @RidiculousMoyo said: “Bottom line z when momentum could have helped Zimbos, he helped [him]self to America.”

Guilty feeling 

Mawarire’s decision not to return from South Africa – which he left Zimbabwe for soon after his release on July 12 – and to go on to the US with his family was certainly controversial.

At the time “Pastor E” only said that his family came first. Hardly anyone knew that his wife Samantha was pregnant with the couple’s third child, who was born in November.

But a mixture of homesickness, the strength of his vision (an early video made by him shows him ‘dreaming big) and perhaps the guilty feeling he’d let people down appear to have propelled him back to Zimbabwe this week.

Where not many are ready to stand up for him publicly, judging from the lack of crowds waiting outside Harare magistrates court on Thursday.

His #ThisFlag organisation tried to rally goodwill, asking Zimbabweans in a press release Thursday to “join hands with us as we begin the arduous task of defending an innocent man yet again.”

Some are of course doing just that.

‘Insulting the flag’

Former education minister David Coltart has urged people to pray for the pastor, saying that he commended Mawarire for coming home in the face of danger. “That is what true patriots do,” Coltart wrote.

And @SLWMO said in a tweet retweeted by Zimbabwean publisher @TrevorNcube and many others: “I will not judge Pastor Evan at all nor call him a coward. I say so because I myself have no guts to do what he has done & continues to do.”

Police on Thursday afternoon pressed yet more charges against the pastor, this time of “insulting the flag”, according to lawyer Fadzayi Mahere. He could face 20 years in jail. The US embassy has called for his immediate release.

So is Mawarire a coward? Stupid? Or is he immensely brave?

The argument may take a long time to settle.


  • comment-avatar
    Majaira Bopoto 5 years ago

    I am glad to join in this debate of Pastor Mawarire’s incarceration. firstly I would like to believe that those who are calling him names are not the ordinary suffering ZIMBABWEANS, but the ruling party’s sympathisers who are bent on hoodwinking people so that we don’t see that we have a true hero at our doorstep. These people are afraid of those who challenges the status-quo, because most probably they are busy ‘double dipping’. Mawarire’s situation makes the propaganda machinery to receive a double priming. The type of Mawarire is a serious threat, not to national security as may be said but to rotten individuals who are not prepared to relinguish power. I knew Zimbabweans being cowards as we are, would go on a fault finding mission on the part of Mawarire, instead of embracing his initiative. Even the President himself may have respect for such characters, why because he did the same to Ian Smith. A REVOLUTION is not necessarily carried out in an orderly
    fashion as if it has got a certain manual.SO Pastor E I would like to say aluta continua. never mind the divide and rule. The President himself had to be carried on the back of Tangwena to cross GAIREZi, And as qualified as he was he endured all sorts of names including terrorist and gandanga.

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    He means well, has Zimbabwe at heart, takes care of his family and is about to be persecuted and prosecuted for something that the Zim Constitution allows him to freely do: to protest in a non violent way. We should ALL support him. In fact, we should ALL of us, go on strike and stay at home. Every one of us. Do not come into towns and cities, do not go to work. Things will change then.

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    The Zanu Command Turkeys are at their normal tricks again. This is a dangerous time for normal people who look after the poor. This is a whole new era of The Command Turkey – in the USA, Syria, Turkey, Russia, the Phillipines and last and most of all the biggest Gaggle of Command Turkeys Zimbabwe.

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    bhora musango 5 years ago

    If Pastor Mawarire is a coward then stand in his shoes and do what you think he was surpose to do, to call him coward is evil like homosexual.

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    mawarire isn’t a coward,he took the right decision depending on the circumstances that he was facing nevertheless we must by all means pray for him and be supportive in continuing igniting winds of change for he was merely excising his rights to demonstrate peacefully,in fact he I’d being charged for being too patriotic(by means of conveying the Zimbabwean flag)which encompass all citizens being equal,granted by the constitution of this country, let us rally for a good,prosperous, law -abiding country which puts all our collective grievances non corrupt Zimbabwe,the movement of the motherland never die

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    Aluta 5 years ago

    Have detractors thought about whether Pastor E. would have been any use to all , if he had been dead or abducted immediately after his release! Who knows how cruel threats by the ‘Authorities’ aimed at his family? His words and clear reasoning still stand. So should the suffering population.

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    Mawarire underwent a political baptism by fire. He got singed and he blinked, pulled back; perhaps to first make sure his young family was secure abroad. For whatever reason, he has chosen to turn and face the fire again.

    What about you? What about me? What are we prepared to do in the face of the flames burning in our country?

    As much as the narrative of our country is about Mugabe, ZANU PF and how they lost the plot, it is also all about how we the people have responded.