When Pastor Mawarire left Zimbabwe in the middle of his #ThisFlag street protests many people accused him of giving them the courage to protest against the injustices in the land but when the confrontation heated up he deserted the protesters and escaped to America. Some people called him coward.
It is sad to note that the some of the Pastor’s critics are still calling him a coward even though he has returned to Zimbabwe and is now in jail. He has since been charged with "subverting a constitutional government" and could face 20 years in jail if he is convicted. (Considering Zanu PF blatantly rigged the 2013 elections and therefore per se cannot be a constitutional government – but that is another matter).
It must be state here and now that Pastor Mawarire did not commit any crime, the right to peace protest is a universally accepted democratic right. True, Zimbabwe is not a democracy, it is a de facto one-party state, but the more reason for the protest.
If Pastor Mawarire is convicted and sentenced to a lengthy jail term, maybe that will satisfy his critics. They will have had their pound of flesh!
Remember the money lender Shylock in The Merchant of Venice who agrees to loan Antonio some money but asks for a pound of Antonio's flesh as a guarantee. When Antonio failed to repay the loan by the agreed day, the money lender refuses to be repaid thrice the agreed amount insisted on the pound of flesh! Shylock, the bloodthirsty, vengeful and inflexible!
I think Pastor Mawarire’s pay heed to Trevor Ncube’s humble, philosophical and introspective comment. “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,” he tweeted.
Just to add to what Trevor Ncube said, what Mawarire achieved in those few weeks before he left for America, was more than what many of us will ever do in a life time! He gave hundreds of thousands if not millions of Zimbabweans hope, courage and a voice to say no to the tyranny of Zanu PF. This is why the regime is mad at him and would want him locked at Chikurumbi Prison a.s.a.p. and throw away the key.
Having given us the hope, courage and the voice; it was up to us to carry the protest forward and not stop until the regime addressed out concerns. We did not need Mawarire to hold our hands every step of the way!
I would not be surprised that the most vocal of Mawarire’s critics are in fact the mean- spirited Shylocks of this world. How many of those calling Mawarire a coward have ever said or done anything critical of the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF dictatorship much less took part in even one street protest?
Imagine having a flat tyre in a cold rain night. There are those who will never lift a finger to help and expect others to get out in the mud and cold and all the dangers of the night to sort out the problem. I think people like Pastor Mawarire are some of those people who will risk their own person comfort for the good of all.
As for Pastor Mawarire’s critics, they are the selfish individuals who, from the comfort of the car, will wind down the window to scream “Get on with it, I am freezing in here!”