Evan Mawarire, Zimbabwean pastor and activist has decried the deplorable conditions in the country’s jails after spending a week on remand at a maximum security facility.
Mawarire disclosed in an interview with a privately owned Newsday portal that the overcrowding, lack of medical care and other unacceptable conditions in the jails reflected the true situation of the ordinary citizen.
“I saw a picture of Zimbabwe in the manner how prisoners live at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. I am not a free man, I am not allowed to act or speak even though I claim to be free.
I saw a picture of Zimbabwe in the manner how prisoners live at Chikurubi Maximum Prison. I am not a free man, I am not allowed to act or speak even though I claim to be free.
“The overcrowding, the poor medical care, treatment and surrounding is true of our everyday lives,” Mawarire told the newspaper.
He was arrested on February 1, after he arrived from the United States where he had been based since last year. He was charged with subversion and disrespecting the Zimbabwean flag.
A high court granted him bail of $300 and asked that he surrenders his passport to the authorities. He is due back in court on Friday, February 17, 2017; for hearing on his case.
The high court judge said the case against him was weak and he was not likely to abscond and showed a willingness to stand trial. His trial date is yet to be set but if convicted he could face up to 20 years in prison.
A court last year threw out a case of subversion brought against him by the State. President Robert Mugabe has had occasion to personally address Mawarire by asking him to stick to preaching and to leave politics.
Mawarire thinks otherwise, he doesn’t seem to be letting his political gown down as he admonishes opposition parties to do things differently if they indeed want power. “I do not think whatever it is that we are doing will go to waste.”
The activist has been behind the social media campaign known by the hashtag #ThisFlag, calling on president Mugabe’s government to address Zimbabwe’s ailing economy and to respect human rights.
He had been charged with inciting public violence and disturbing peace.