By Mutsa Makuvaza
PROMINENT cleric-turned-politician Evan Mawarire, who shot to fame in 2016 as he battled against the Government of Robert Mugabe, says he wasn’t exactly prepared for the fight in which he made thousands of Zimbabweans believe in his cause.
Mawarire fronted #ThisFlag campaign in which he shut down the entire country, angering the Mugabe regime that subsequently arrested him and charged him with treason.
This week, the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program of the prestigious Yale University in the US will post online introductions for the members of its diverse cohort, and Mawarire’s video is going to feature.
The program, run out of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, invites a group of professionals from various backgrounds annually to Yale for four months of intensive academic enrichment and leadership training. This year, the program will host 13 individuals as part of its 19th cohort and will coordinate virtual programs with the fellows and the broader Yale community throughout the semester.
Mawarire and other members filmed their statements around Yale University’s campus. Mawarire’s video features him walking past major Yale landmarks while talking about his social justice advocacy in Zimbabwe.
Mawarire says he was not prepared when his voice became the voice of a nation, adding that he was just a “nobody”.
“I was upset and frustrated at the way the country was being run,” Mawarire says in his video. “So I took my flag and my phone, propped it up against my Bible in my small office, and just began to speak from the heart about the kind of Zimbabwe that I wanted to see …
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“What I wasn’t prepared for was how my voice –– the voice of a nobody –– would become the voice of a nation.”
The program also features the introductory videos made by the fellows. Some fellows recorded their videos in their home countries. For example, journalist Stephanie Busari filmed hers from Lagos, Nigeria.
Since the program’s founding in 2002, there have been 259 World Fellows from a total of 91 different countries.
Mawarire tried unsuccessfully to contest for a local ward seat in Harare urban during the 2018 elections, but lost to an opposition MDC Alliance candidate. Following the removal from power of Mugabe by the military in November 2017, Mawarire’s political stock has subsequently diminished.
However, another prominent member of #ThisFlag movement, lawyer Fadzayi Mahere, left independent politics in 2019 to join the opposition MDC Alliance where she is the party’s national spokesperson. – Zimbabwe Voice