The Sunday Mail
It is abundantly clear to any right-thinking Zimbabwean that the highly pretentious Evan Mawarire long-ceased to be worth attention the moment he ignominiously left the country for South Africa and then the United States.
Until his arrest at Harare International Airport last week, Mawarire had — in the minds of most Zimbabweans — long-disgraced himself as his #ThisFlag mantra had turned out to be a fundraising gimmick.
It was indeed laughable that someone who had boasted of unflinching bravery could sneak out of Zimbabwe immediately after his acquittal for attempting to subvert a constitutionally elected government.
The script from the start was clear.
It was rather a predictable drab and dreary one, whose denouement was to be abrupt as has happened.
Here was a commonplace guy, leading an insignificant congregation and handful of cheerleaders, a failed father, who comes out on social media with a prank to use Zimbabwe’s ultimate national symbol — the flag — to exhort citizens to “insurrect” against Government.
He gets a handful of sympathisers, just enough to create sufficient bedlam, all for the ears and eyes of a West still desperate for regime change by any means necessary.
It was an unintelligent, uninspiring, shameless script that left even his ardent handful of sympathisers bemused. He became the butt of all manner of jokes as he ensconced himself in South Africa and the US where, for a moment, he became an overnight celebrity.
Overnight, the struggling father became an expert on Zimbabwe, delivering “lectures” that all the time were punctuated by a tear-drop to validate the “emotional abuse” he and his fellow countrymen had allegedly suffered under the Zanu-PF Government.
But like all pranks, there was to be no lasting impact and his audience became less interested in his empty talk. The ultimate test of his uninspiring shenanigans was to come when he attempted to stage a demonstration against President Mugabe in New York at the UN General Assembly.
His handful of followers was simply crowded out by December 12 Movement members who rightly labelled him a traitor peddling blue lies in the vain hope of acquiring a Green Card.
His handlers were nowhere in sight, and as he and his handful of followers made an embarrassing retreat, it must have dawned on him that his sell-by date was on the verge of expiring.
Although his status in the US is not clear, we can only speculate that maybe his extended visa or his political asylum status was no longer tenable.
Besides, the US, which has an embassy in Harare, could also have seen through the prank and decided to dump the hireling.
We can also speculate that the coming into the fold of the Trump administration and his attitude towards immigrants of dubious status could have complicated Mawarire’s stay there.
How does one leave a country that is the “paragon of democracy”; leave a wife still feeling the pangs of labour and come back to a country that he left in a huff claiming his life and that of his family was in danger?
Something is not adding up and I am sure sooner rather than later this charlatan will be fully exposed.
It is, however, clear that before he left the US, Mawarire was aware of his fate.
He had sneaked out of Zimbabwe with a warrant hanging on his neck and while many may not agree with the police for swooping on the guy soon after landing at Harare International Airport, it stands to reason that he must simply face the music for his actions.
My view is he must not have been given another platform for pranks by arresting him at the airport. Mere summons would have been appropriate.
But, hey, the law is the law.
As highlighted by University of Zimbabwe lecturer and social commentator Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki, Mawarire is a lost sheep singing for his supper.
His rent-seeking behaviour is distasteful and clearly out of sync with the reality on the ground.
Yes, Zimbabwe is going through economic difficulties. But to suggest that the State is the sole begetter of such a state of affairs without being conscious of the economic embargo imposed by the US is the height of lunacy.
Many will remember Mawarire tweeting a picture of himself and Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote captioned “And then I told him Aliko Dangote that in Zimbabwe, Government ministers loot investors’ money #ThisFlag”.
It is unimaginable how a Zimbabwean can speak so ill of his country and go to the extent of discouraging investment, while at the same time claiming to love his country.
Mawarire’s relatives are in Zimbabwe and any benefits thereof accrued from economic transformation will surely benefit them too.
Why then should a sane person be so naïve and myopic to score cheap political goals by discouraging well-meaning investors to set up shop in the country?
While Mawarire’s legal challenges are a matter of the courts to decide, there is no doubt that he has lost the trust and confidence of even his few enthusiastic sympathisers.
In short, his sell-by date has expired.