TCN journalist Sisathi Nomatye recently interviewed #ThisFlag founder, Pastor Evan Mawarire. A movement aimed at inspiring Zimbabwean citizens to rise up against corruption and injustice, the call to action soon attracted the hearts of many people across the world.
TCN: Who is Pastor Evan? Tell us about yourself
I’m a happy husband married to Samantha for 14 years, a father of 3 young gorgeous girls, a pastor to a cozy church family and a citizen of Zimbabwe. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe in a Christian home. I love people. I started off in youth ministry and that’s is where I fell in love with the idea of ‘inspiring generations’ which is my personal life purpose. Recently I have become a fierce defender of social justice in our nation. I started a citizens movement called #ThisFlag when I posted a video on Facebook in April 2016 which called on Zimbabweans to rise up and condemn corruption, injustice and poverty.
TCN: Your YouTube’s call to action attracted viewers from across the world, what motivated you to start #ThisFlag Movement
I guess I was confronted with the fact that as a citizen of this country I had not played my part in ensuring a good future for my children. I found myself unable to provide the most basic of needs for my family. But on a larger scale, I was hurt by what the most vulnerable citizens of our nation where going through. The elderly, children, the destitute, the disabled and our women have been brutally abused by our government’s poor and intentional mismanagement. The core of this movement is about the kind of legacy we are leaving for our children. The Bible says in proverbs 13v22, a good man leaves and inheritance for his children’s children.
TCN: You also received a lot of attacks since starting the movement, tell us how you manage to handle that opposition? What has kept you going?
Yes I have been jailed a number of times now for speaking out against the government. Recently I was thrown into Chikurubi maximum security prison in the dangerous criminals section. I’m out on bail but I still stand accussed of attempting to overthrow the government and face a 20-year jail term if convicted. Almost on a daily basis I receive death threats and I’m regularly followed by the Central Intelligence Police. It’s not normal to be threatened like that but that is what this journey will take. I believe that God has put me on this journey, therefore my complete trust is in Him. I have no elaborate security detail except my Bible and prayer. What has kept me going is that God says in His Word to me that He is able to bring to completion what He started in me. I believe that with all my heart.
TCN: In a country that’s faced with severe poverty, dismal employment conditions, and serious health issues- how do you manage to still inspire hope?
There are only two commodities in Zimbabwe that anyone can get without paying money for. Fear and Hope. The state traffics in fear and causes people to be suppressed and give up on their dreams. Hope is what we the church and people of God have to offer. We are merchants of hope and that hope the Bible says does not disappoint. One of my favorite scriptures says “We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” I love it because it reassures us that we have a treasure in us which is the mission of God, then it says that God himself is the source if the power needed to actualize that treasure. Everyday it is my duty to sell hope and to teach how to protect it.
TCN: Why is it important for believers to intercede on behalf of the nation?
In Zimbabwe, we have come full circle with our politicians. We have tried so many solutions to bring the suffering to an end but nothing has worked. Prayer is the last bastion of breakthrough. It is where I started when #ThisFlag Movement kicked off last year. There is no doubt that the church is the key to turning around our nation. Our problems are more spiritual than they are physical. So we must actively continue united in prayer.
Share with us the Zimbabwe you envision for the future generation?
The Zimbabwe that we want must:
- Respect the rule of law and in particular the constitution of our land.
- Respect the original ideals of the liberation struggle.
- Work zealously to protect our women, the disabled, the elderly and children.
- Promote the youth and set them up to be successors of a better nation
- Put the interests of the country before those of self or political affiliation.
- Acknowledge God and seek out His guidance
TCN: Any last words and advise to Christian leaders in Africa?
Christian leaders in Africa must understand that there is a generation now present that will stop at nothing in building a better Africa. It’s a David generation who are not prepared to go into day 41 with goliath defying God’s mission. They are a firebrand generation who will refuse to fight in Saul’s armor opting for the basic unadulterated instruction of God. They need guidance not hinderance, they want to put the Word of God to test because they are no longer content theorizing it. If current Christian leaders do not recognize this generation and be prepared to mentor them, then God will break them lose and start them without you.