Zimbabwe’s well-known social media activist pastor, Evan Mawarire, responded swiftly to today’s military takeover in Zimbabwe, streaming a “citizens’ broadcast” on Facebook this morning, calling on Zimbabweans to be calm, hopeful, united and prayerful.
In his broadcast from Harare, which garnered nearly 60 000 views and thousands of comments in just two hours, he said that thousands of people had prayed for Zimbabwe throughout last night and that despite the prevailing uncertainty he believed that “things would have been worse but for the intervention of prayer”.
He said he believed that over the next few days many routes of dialogue between the Church, the military, the government, the opposition, and the people, would open up, providing opportunities to chart a new way forward for Zimbabwe.
“Now is your chance, Church of Zimbabwe. Let’s approach the military, the opposition, the government — and let’s make a case for this new Zimbabwe that we have to have.
“We may not have total control over what our military do but we can speak to them. We can reach out to our government and we can ask that our nation go in a better direction,” he said.
[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/evan.mawarire/videos/10155046312317043/” width=”400″ height=”340″ onlyvideo=”1″]
“The Church has not really spoken out — they have made statements here and there — but this is a great time to come together and as pastors and bishops and prophets to come together and stand for truth and righteousness and justice and for peace.
“And so we demand, even of our military today as they go on this mission they say the have — we still demand of them truth and justice that nobody gets hurt.”
Addressing all Zimbabweans, in the country and around the world, he said: “Zimbabwe needs you to be calm but hopeful; to be alert but prayerful. Zimbabwe needs you to support and encourage each other.”
He further urged Zimbabweans to “stay away from violence, lawlessness, rumours and lies.”
In the days ahead they should verify all news that they heard, he said. They should also not provoke the military or security sector.
“The hope for Zimbabwe lies in its citizens, its constitution, “and ultimately our hope lies in God — God who we trust”.
”The Bible says in Psalm 27:13, I am still confident of this, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” he said, calling on Zimbabweans to stand strong and to hold onto their hopes and dreams.
Despite the unprecedented situation in the country, ordinary life was going on, and he called on voters to continue to register for the upcoming elections.
“Let us not abandon it. I know some people are saying we don’t know who to vote for and that elections might not happen….
“But let’s unite. It doesn’t matter what party you support. Right now what matters is Zimbabwe.
Wiping tears from his eyes, he said: “Let not fear grip your hearts. We have been through so much as a nation. We can’t afford to lose more lives. We have lost many people, we have lost much property and time.
“My fellow Zimbabweans, I plead with you. I may have let you down, other people may have let you down, but whatever you do don’t let yourself down — don’t let your children down.”
He urged young Zimbabweans throughout the nation and the world to “get ready to be part of the exciting and brand new Zimbabwe”.
Pastor Mawarire first rose to prominence in 2016 after he began appearing, with a Zimbabwean flag draped around his shoulders, in a series of youtube videos voicing his grievances about corruption and injustice in the nation. This led to the #ThisFlag campaign and his leading a strike that paralysed much of the nation. He has been arrested several times and charged with subversion.