A Zimbabwean pastor and political activist has been acquitted of charges of subversion against the government of ex-President Robert Mugabe.
High Court Judge Priscilla Chigumba ruled Wednesday there was no evidence that Evan Mawarire called for Mugabe’s overthrow last year when he led a large citizen protest against the longtime autocratic leader. Mawarire, who launched the social media #ThisFlag protest movement on social media, posted a series of videos urging people to stay home and not work or shop.
“The whole journey has been absurd,” Mawarire told reporters outside the courtroom after the ruling was announced. He said “a lot more needs to be seen for us to determine” if the country’s judiciary will become more independent than under Mugabe.
The 93-year-old Mugabe, who ruled the southern African country for 37 years, resigned under pressure last week after he was removed from power by the military and lost the support of lawmakers in his ruling ZANU-PF party.
Mawarire warned newly installed President Emmerson Mnangagwa that if he fails to respect human rights as Mugabe did, Zimbabweans will take to the streets again.