With all that had happened in the past week via the all round protests, no one, not even the Zimbabwean government expected that the protest leader, Pastor Evan Mawarire would be set free in such a short while.
Hundreds of citizens who had mounted a 12-hour vigil at the magistrate’s court erupted into song and dance, honking vehicles and flying the Zimbabwean flag as the court dismissed case against anti-Mugabe campaigner Mawarire on Wednesday.
Mawarire, who was charged with inciting violence and trying to overthrow the government through an internet campaign that inspired rare protests against President Robert Mugabe, was set free by Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe after much pressure from unprecedented public.
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Mawarire who saw the court case dismissal as a sign of victory, called on Zimbabweans, especially those who sharr his view about ending the country’s political and economic woes, to gird up their loins in preparation for a more severe and tact protests.
Mawarire said people should stay back in their homes as part of a campaign against corruption, economic mismanagement and unemployment.
The preacher who is anti Mugabe government said this during his chat with the BBC after his release. The preacher maintained that his aim was not politically connected, but a cry for quick and drastic change in the nation’s economy especially in the payment of people’s salaries, employment opportunities and food for all.
“Let’s all shut down and send a message to our government that enough is enough, we need changes in very simple things, in very simple areas.
“And our protest – non-violent, non-inciting, stay-at-home, is the best because it is within the confines of the law.
“Every Zimbabwean who does not participate is robbing us of a great opportunity to add to the momentum of where our country is going.” he said .
Mawarire’s trial and release was such a spectacular one. One which brings to view, the weariness of Zimbabweans on the country’s political and economic fall out.
Mawarire’s Release – A sign Of victory
The first sign of victory was when about 200 lawyers volunteered to represent Mawarireen masse. This became more conspicuous when Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe asked who was representing the accused and as one, they all raised their Law Society cards.
Protests in Zimbabwe always appear dangerous and at time, fatal which is why it doesn’t happen very often, but with the huge turn out of people in support of the preacher and activist, many say, this is a sign of the end for the Mugabe-led administration.
“There are times when we have to shed our status as lawyers and push for justice as citizens. It does not require a lawyer to see that there is injustice going on here,” said Belvin Bopato, an attorney noted.
“We are here in solidarity with a man of the cloth who is standing against a system that has impoverished the citizens of this nation,” Harare resident Pastor Ellard said.
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Though Mawarire had called for further “stay at home” protests on Wednesday, queues built up as normal at bus and taxi ranks to ferry people to work, while most businesses were open.
Teachers reported for duty at most public schools, which are conducting mid-year examinations, while nurses and doctors were at work at state-run hospitals.