Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has blasted the pastor at the heart of a social media campaign against the government, saying he was not a “true preacher” who served God as he spelt God backwards [ie dog], the state-owned Herald newspaper reports.
It quoted Mr Mugabe as saying that if people like Evan Mawarire “don’t want to live with us they should go to those countries that are sponsoring them”.
Mr Mawarire, who launched this #ThisFlag camapign, is currently in nerighbouring South Africa.
A court ordered his release last week after throwing out charges of subversion against him.
He was detained after calling for a stay away against the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe, where the government has battled to pay the salaries of civil servants.
Speaking at the funeral of his political comrade Charles Utete in the capital, Harare, Mr Mugabe said:
The Mwarires, I don’t even know him… I don’t know if he’s a man of religion. A man of religion will speak the biblical truth.
First Corinthiuans, what does its say? Love one another. So beware these men of God – not all of them are true preachers of the Bible.
I don’t know whether they are serving God. Well, we spell God G.O.D. They spell God in reverse.”
The Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire, was recently hailed by many of his countrymen as a hero on social media for calling for an end to the country’s economic woes.
In the wake of the pastor’s appearance in court last week, when a magistrate threw out charges by the state prosecutor that he was trying to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, one Zimbabwean in the UK spent hours on Photoshop to create an image of Mr Mawarire as superhero “Captain Zimbabwe”.