By Kingstone Jambawo: "Open for Freedom" meets "Walk for Freedom"
London - 22 February 2018 - The founder of #ThisFlag Movement Pastor Evan Mawarire presented a passionate speech about his experiences, economic drive, and constitutional challenges at Westminster Parliament today.
The event which was organised by the Henry Jackson Society was attended by members of Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO), Zimbabwe Diaspora Community, and Lord Chidgey who was in the chair until the arrival of MP for Vauxhall, Kate Hoey.
- In his speech Pastor Mawarire described the situation in Zimbabwe as dire saying that a 30 minute speech by President Mnangagwa cannot change the effects of 37 years.
- He said that those who were instrumental in intimidating the opposition - denied citizens their choices in 2008 and 2013 are still in government.
- He paid tribute to the late Morgan Tsvangirai for putting up a great fight for freedom and justice under the most difficult conditions.
- He criticised the regime for failing to publicly apologise for the Gukurahundi atrocities saying that it is the responsibility of the government to provide closure for the victims.
- He gave his own personal experience at the hands of the regime and warned that it can happen to anyone.
"We need to move away from a situation where Zimbabwe is owned by a few - $15 billion goes missing and no one can account for it - we were incarcerated for demanding our rights - gone are the days when people remained silent - young people have gripped the idea of freeing themselves - our freedom is more important to us than ever before" he said.
When asked by the BBC reporter about Free and Fair Election - he was not at all confident that these would happen and cited 2000 and 2008 as examples of Military interference (with 2008 being a de-facto Coup - the Military refused to accept the MDC Victory).
"When MDC won the elections in 2008, the missing factor was the ordinary citizens - we the people were the missing component - but since #ThisFlag Movement, people have made it their aim to sacrifice for freedom - Mugabe had said that there are special jails for people like us saying ‘leave our politics alone' - and people like Paul Chizuze and Itai Dzamara are still missing" he said.
"I felt bad for leaving the people when I went into exile and that is why I returned" he said.
Mawarire hopes for freedoms for the people - but cannot see the current incumbent Government members as varying that out. He pointed out that many who have been made ministers in the current Government -Junta - were directly responsible for 2008 Coup and the 1983 massacres.
He questions the 'Open for Business' mantra by Zanu PF when they clearly do not care about the general population. "As long as the laws have not been aligned, the economic growth being touted is baseless with no freedom" he said.
Mawarire also called on the British Government not to let the Zimbabwean people down by selfishly pursuing its economic interests but must push the Mnangagwa administration to provide a level field for sustainable elections and economic growth.
|A Walk for Freedom Shirt was donated|
He called on the British government not to ignore human rights abuses in Zimbabwe for its own economic gains.
In his address on the Diaspora vote, Mawarire emphasised that although it is one of the most important issues that the current government needs to address, he doubted that the diaspora vote was going to be granted in time for the 2018 elections.
The meeting was also attended by Dr Tshibangu Mukumbay from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who was interested in looking for looted assets from his country by Zanu PF.