Zimbabwe’s cricket fans have been invited by pastor Evan Mawarire to participate in a peaceful protest during the second Test against New Zealand at Bulawayo starting Saturday (August 6). The call for protest is the latest in a series of peaceful demonstrations around the country, fronted by the #thisflag movement, to speak out against the government rule.
Mawarire, 39, started the campaign in April to protest against the ruling government “for allowing corruption, injustice and poverty.” In a YouTube video, Mawarire urged fans visiting the game to stand in unison at the start of the 36th over on Day 1 – to mark the Zimbabwe’s 36th year of independence – and sing the national anthem. Mawarire’s summons also bear references to Andy Flower and Henry Olonga’s‘death of democracy’ statement during the 2003 World Cup.
Mawarire, who now resides in South Africa after receiving bail for his stay-away campaigns last month, hopes to use cricket to get global attention to the prevalent political circumstances in the impoverished country. The Robert Mugabe-led government in Zimbabwe has been held responsible for the country’s drought, unemployment situation and the shortage of cash. The president, who came to power 36 years ago, has also been named accountable for the political influence in cricket, that saw a mass white-player walkout in the early 2000s.
Zimbabwe trail the two-match series 0-1, after losing the opening Test at the Queens Sports Club by an innings and 117 runs.