Current trending topics on Zimbabwe’s Twitter are all related to Evan Mawarire, the man behind the #ThisFlag movement which has gained significant momentum since April when it started. Pastor Evan, as he has come to be known, was arrested today apparently for “inciting public violence and disturbing peace”.
According to trendsmap, the following hashtags and accounts have been trending on since Mawarire’s arrest this morning: #FreePastorEvan, #ShutDownZimbabwe2016, Inciting, #ZimShutdown2016, @thisflag1980, @pastorevanlive, violence, #thisflag, Evan, Mawarire, disturbing.
A topic trending on Twitter means the majority of Twitter users in Zimbabwe are tweeting about the topic.
While measuring conversation on Twitter is relatively easy because Twitter provides the means, it is likely the case that calls to #FreePastorEvans are trending on Facebook and WhatsApp too. WhatsApp is Zimbabwe’s most popular social platform.
Last week, the Government of Zimbabwe warned that anyone using social media in a way they deemed inappropriate risked arrest.
Here are some of the most echoed tweets on the #FreePastorEvans hashtag today:
— Shingi Munyeza (@ShingiMunyeza) July 12, 2016
The sad thing is not the harassment and brutality by the bad people but the silence of good people. #FreePastorEvan
— Tinashe Nyaruwanga (@tnyaruwanga) July 12, 2016
When did he incite violence?? This is getting really pathetic. #FreePastorEvan
— Kudzai Sevenzo (@KudzaiSevenzo) July 12, 2016
— #ThisFlag | Doug (@DougColtart) July 12, 2016
— Vuvu (@vuyi_chaza) July 12, 2016
— Vusi Thembekwayo (@VusiThembekwayo) July 12, 2016
— African (@ali_naka) July 12, 2016
#FreePastorEvan is now trending in Zimbabwe. Another spectacular own goal from ZANU PF
— Nqaba Matshazi (@nqabamatshazi) July 12, 2016