Online activist & #ThisFlag founder Evan Mawarire returns to Zimbabwe, arrested on arrival

   

Evan Mawarire, the pastor and political activist behind the #ThisFlag online campaign has been arrested at Harare International Airport.

This was Mawarire’s return to Zimbabwe ever since he left in 2016. Mawarire’s #ThisFlag campaign drew a lot of followers and created engagement in political issues and the hashtag was closely associated with protests against the lack of service delivery and corruption within government.

#ThisFlag led a wave of online activism in Zimbabwe and it has been alleged that the increase in online political expression was one of the reasons why the government wanted to limit internet access through higher data prices.

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In July 2016 Evan Mawarire contributed significantly to a mass stay-away, mobilising citizens through videos shared on YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp.

Mawarire was later arrested and charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government. The charges were later dismissed, he was released and he went into self-imposed exile.

Mawarire is facing the same charges this time and so far his return has attracted a lot of attention on social media with #ThisFlag trending again.


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