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Cancelled - Zimbabwe's New Citizen Activism: Where from here?
Wed 19 October 2016, 13:00 – 14:30 BST
Wednesday 19th October 2016, 13:00 - 14:30
In Committee Room 14, House of Commons, Westminster, SW1A 0AA
Chair: Lord Jonny Oates
Speakers: Pastor Evan Mawarire, Standrick Zvorwadza and Patson Dzamara
Ordinary Zimbabweans are making clear on the streets and across social media that they have had enough of political and economic injustice. What are the next steps necessary to bring about a brighter future for all Zimbabweans? In this joint meeting with the Africa APPG and the Zimbabwe APPG, we are joined by three prominent activists - Pastor Evan Mawarire, Standrick Zvorwadza and Patson Dzamara.
Pastor Evan Mawarire is a religious leader, motivational speaker and author. He gained national and then global notoriety after his video This Flag went viral, spurring the start of the #ThisFlag hashtag online. Along with protests and stayaways, the online movement has mobilised Zimbabweans to demand an accountable government. The Pastor was later arrested in early July 2016 after successfully calling for a national 'Stay Away' dubbed 'Shut down Zimbabwe'. His arrest sparked an international uproar by human rights groups. He was later acquitted by the Magistrate citing violations against Constitutional rights. He has since fled to South Africa and then to the United States.
Standrick Zvorwadza is a political and civil rights activist. A teacher by profession, he acts as the board chairman of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe. With an estimated 80% unemployment rate, the highest in Southern Africa, the economy relies on a large number of vendors. Standrick has been arrested several times defending the rights of vendors in Zimbabwe against the confiscation of their goods by authorities. Standrick gained international publicity when he led the protest against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko's continued stay at a five star hotel for almost 2 years at public purse in June 2016. He was arrested by the police and charged with malicious damage to property. The Vice President has since left the hotel after the protest. He has been prominent in the use of social media under the #thisflower and #tajamuka hashtags. Tajakuma means 'outraged', 'angry' with an implicit component of 'action' - something like: "Let's act".
Patson Dzamara is an academic, leadership consultant and motivational speaker. He travels extensively speaking on leadership in presentations based on the 7 books he has published to date. His brother Itai Dzamara, who started the Occupy Africa Unity square Movement, calling for the end of President Mugabe’s rule was abducted in March 2015 and has not been seen since. Patson has been campaigning to demand the return of his brother, for the government to address economic hardships, and calling for the end to Mugabe rule. An active social media user, he has popularised the #occupyafrica hashtag, and has also been arrested for his activities.
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