HARARE — President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on Pastor Evan Mawarire of the #thisflag movement, who rose to prominence for criticizing his government and organizing crippling protests in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe even doubted that Pastor Mawarire was a minister of religion despite the fact that he was once a child president.
Officiating at the burial of the former chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, President Mugabe accused Pastor Evan Mawarire of being foreign-sponsored.
Mawarire was arraigned before a Harare magistrate last week on charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government but was set free after his lawyers convinced that the court the man of cloth was illegally brought before a Harare magistrate as he was not warned and cautioned on the charges that he was facing.
Mr. Mugabe’s scathing attack on Pastor Mawarire was criticized by some Harare residents like Warship Dumba, who said the president is running away from addressing issues affecting Zimbabweans.
Dumba said the president was no longer fit to rule.
Instead of attacking Pastor Mawarire and the church, some critics like Barnabas Thondlana, editor of The Observer newspaper, said Mr. Mugabe should listen to the concerns of the people who elected him instead of seeing them as enemies.
At the same time, Mr. Mugabe accused some new farmers of not utilizing the land that was parceled out to them under the country’s land reform program. President Mugabe said if land was used properly, Zimbabwe would regain its status as the jewel of southern Africa.
Turning to Utete, who joined government at independence in 1980, President Mugabe said the deceased was a loyal employee, who transformed the civil service from what it was before independence and helped in crafting the land review policy.
Mr. Mugabe said the late Utete was one person who would advise him on several issues without picking a fight with him when they disagreed on some issues.
Dr. Charles Utete died suddenly at his Harare home on Friday and is survived by his wife Verna and five children.-VOA