Thursday, 2 February 2017

Arresting Mawarire on return to Zim was the easy bit but on what serious charge. By W Mukori

When President Mugabe denounce Pastor Evans Mawarire as a “man of cloth” worshipping “dog” he must have thought then that Mawarire had turned tail and left Zimbabwe for good and he, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, was having the final word on the matter!

"So beware these men of cloth, not all of them are true preachers of the Bible. I don't know whether they are serving God. They spell God in reverse," said Mugabe, six months ago. "The Mawarires, if they don't like to live with us, let them go to those who are sponsoring them, to the countries that are sponsoring them."

Those were very harsh words; even those of us who know Mugabe to be corrupt and murderous tyrant given to speaking harshly even when there is no need for it, were taken aback by the harshness of those words. After all what crime had Pastor Mawarire and his #ThisFlag followers committed; voicing their concern about the misrule and corruption that had left millions out of work and destitute is should not be a crime. In Mugabe’s Zimbabwe that is a very serious crime as others like Itai Dzamara, who was abducted never to be seen again, would readily testify.

Mugabe must have spoken those harsh words to remind all those Mawarire had inspired to join in the street protest that swept the country like grass fires of what happened to Itai Dzamara could happen to them too. As for Pastor Mawarire, Mugabe was convinced he roughing up he got had scared him to turn tail and run never to comeback.

The big story is that Pastor Mawarire has returned to Zimbabwe!

"Zimbabwe is home for me and my family. That's the place where we have a right to be without acquiring a visa, we are citizens of Zimbabwe,” Mawarire told the reporter, Simon Allison.

“The president of Zimbabwe made comments to the effect that I was not welcome in Zimbabwe, but he doesn't get to make that decision for me. I have not committed a crime, I'm not a fugitive, I'm a citizen, and an upstanding citizen for that matter."

Old age has taken its toll on President Mugabe; forget all the macho talk him being “as fit as a fiddle”. Physically, he has shrivelled up; no amount of Botox body-filler can hide the fact there is little of the original frame left to hang it on. Mentally, old age has turned Mugabe from Grumpy into the character Sleepy, in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He now dozes off at the drop of a hat; even when he is standing up!

The news that Pastor Evans Mawarire was coming back to Zimbabwe must have forced Mugabe to sit bolt up and to stay wide-awake for many hours!

Of course, the authorities arrest Pastor Mawarire when he landed at Harare International Airport; after all the grandstanding and harsh words from Mugabe; they had no choice but arrest him or lose face. Now the tyrant has to come up with a charge serious enough to make punishment worth the regime’s while (nothing short of five-year jail term will do) and make the charge stick!

“He has been charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government,” Mawarire’s attorney, Harrison Nkomo, told VOA. “The same charges as last time [following his July protest]. I do not know what they are trying to do, so we will deal with it when we get to court”

The standard charge serious charge against his critics and opponents is for Mugabe to accuse them of plotting to assassinate him; that is what he accused Joice Mujuru and before her Morgan Tsvangirai. He failed to make the charge stick in both cases for lack of evidence but that has never deterred Mugabe from making such wild and unfounded allegations.

Charging Mawarire of holding a peaceful public protest will result in a few weeks in jail sentence at most, hardly the five years with hard labour Mugabe wanted.

The regime ended up with a lot of egg on its face last July when the Magistrate dismissed all the charges brought against him; Mawarire won that round. Unless the regime “jazz up” the charges against Mawarire there is no doubt that Mawarire will once again win this round by a unanimous decision!

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