Zim police call in protest pastor for questioning
12 July 2016, 14:35
Harare - Police in the Zimbabwean capital Harare have called a popular church pastor in for questioning ahead of another planned stay-away this week, he said on Monday.
Evan Mawarire, the founder of the #ThisFlag movement, said in a video clip that he will report to police on Tuesday morning, adding: "I take it it is just routine questioning."
But there will be speculation that police may try to arrest Mawarire, 39, as they have done others who have spoken out about the mounting frustration gripping Zimbabwe three years after President Robert Mugabe was re-elected to power.
With his frequent Facebook posts and the respect in which he is held by many Zimbabweans, Mawarire played a leading role in garnering support for last Wednesday's nationwide stay-away.
'We have broken no law'
The strike was meant to protest government corruption, an import ban and police brutality, among other things. Its success clearly angered the authorities - and President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace, who spoke out about it at the weekend.
State media suggested soon after the strike that the father-of-two might be "in trouble" with the authorities - even though the churchman has maintained that all anti-government protests must be non-violent.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change has lost support in recent years. Mawarire, who has written books on sex and marriage, is rapidly becoming the face of many Zimbabweans' hope.
Said Mawarire in a post that was viewed more than 10 000 times in just one hour: "I have gotten a call from the CID [Criminal Investigation Department]. They want to question me. We have broken no law."
Promise Mkwananzi, who has been linked to the Tajamuka group of protesters was called in for questioning on Friday and held over the weekend.
He was released on Monday on $300 bail, according to Chalton Hwende of the Movement for Democratic Change. Two activists were abducted a day after the stay-away. They have since been found.