Pastor Evan Mawarire and a handful of his #ThisFlag movement followers got a rude awakening at the Zimbabwean embassy in New York when they attempted to stage a demonstration against President Mugabe.
They were countered by hordes of December 12 Movement and African-Americans hired by President Mugabe's government. They labelled Mawarire a traitor who wanted asylum in the US by lying about the situation in Zimbabwe.
A video that went viral on social media yesterday showed December 12 Movement members, African-Americans and some Zimbabweans castigating Mawarire through chants like “we got a traitor’’, “Green card traitor, go home! You are stealing money from America, lying that you are hunted back home.”
After realising that he could not win the argument, Mawarire, retreated shouting that he would mobilise more people and come back the next day.
Herald analysts said the counter-demonstrations by hundreds of African-Americans, was a wake-up call for Mawarire that he could not continue to fool his people that he had followers.
“What is evident for everyone to see is that his protest did not gain traction in the US,” said legal practitioner and political analyst, Mr Terrence Hussein.
“That is because people there are little more intellectual and analytical than he suspected. They do not want to be used to further personal careers of other people.”
University of Zimbabwe lecturer and social commentator, Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki,
said Mawarire did not deserve the publicity that he was getting because he was not a political or social force.
“He is a lost sheep and what he is doing has no political focus since he is just singing for his supper. His behaviour is that of someone who just wants to get money. Its rent-seeking behaviour and what he is doing is devoid of any substance. He is just looking for people who hate Zimbabwe to give him money.
“He doesn’t deserve the publicity that the media is giving him because he is not a political or social force. His posturing is out of sync with the reality in Zimbabwe, but he is just exploiting Western hatred for Zimbabwe,” said Prof Mupepereki.
“That must show him the reality on the ground that he is supported by white people yet black people who live in the West are saying President Mugabe is right. It’s a clear message even to those supporting him that Zimbabwean problems can only be solved internally since the country is already independent.
“What he saw was the magnitude of support that His Excellency enjoys throughout the world. Even if he goes to Europe, he will still be shocked that people there support President Mugabe,” said Mr Ziki.
On Monday, Mawarire tweeted a picture of him and Mr Dangote and captioned it: “And then I told Aliko Dangote that in Zimbabwe Government ministers loot investors’ money #ThisFlag”.
“I cannot imagine how a Zimbabwean can go out to speak ill of the country with the intention of discouraging investment,” said Mr Ziki.
“He wants Zimbabwe to be prejudiced of the investment that is supposed to enhance economic transformation.”
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) senior vice president, Mr Callisto Jokonya, said it was sickening that Mawarire did not want investors to come to Zimbabwe.
“If we have to fight battles then we have to do it amongst ourselves without involving third parties because doing so, to me is losing the fight.
“If you start discouraging investors from coming to invest, it starts to bring question marks of where your interests are. By doing that, it is clear he is being misinformed and I don’t support people who put down their own country.
“If they have issues they have to engage their Government here instead of going about discouraging investment,” said Mr Jokonya.
Another economic analyst who preferred anonymity said: “It is clear that his behaviour is informed by his handlers who are foreign, as such will not be affected if Dangote decides not to come and invest here.