Mandiwanzira under fire over flag protest

FED-UPZimbabweans are spreading the hashtag #ThingsthatshouldshockSupa after the country's IT minister was secretly filmed threatening the founder of a growing online protest movement.

Supa Mandiwanzira has become the focus of local internet ire after he professed to be “shocked” by what he called Pastor Evan Mawarire’s lies during a live interview earlier this week on a radio station that the minister owns.

Mawarire, 39, is the man behind the #ThisFlag movement against corruption and poverty in Zimbabwe. Ignored at first by the government of longtime President Robert Mugabe, the protest has now clearly rattled top Zanu-PF officials.

The minister was filmed after Monday evening’s interview threatening to “remove” Mawarire from Twitter.

Zimbabweans hit back with the hashtag #ThingsthatshouldshockSupa, pouring out a litany of grievances that are at the heart of #ThisFlag.

Said @vDzwa: “#ThingsThatShouldShockSupa children failing to attend school in rural areas because they are hungry.”

Supervision of social media 

@Tanyaellen1 said: “#ThingsThatShouldShockSupa there are areas in Harare that have gone more than 5 years without tap water its now ‘normal’ to them.”

“#ThingsthatshouldshockSupa a government thinks that introducing bond notes will solve our current problems,” said @MitiObert in a reference to the new banknotes that Zimbabwe’s central bank says it will soon start printing, officially to encourage exports.

Many Zimbabweans fear that the notes will instead take Zimbabwe back to the dark days of the pre-2009 hyper-inflationary crisis.

Well-known Zimbabwean comedian @CarlJoshuaNcube said: “Looooool this #thingsthatshouldshocksupa hash tag on Twitter is going to get lots of people dismissed with immediate effect.”

Mawarire told ZiFM on Monday that he had begun to speak out shortly after independence day celebrations last month when he realised that he was unable to pay his children’s school fees.

He has not declared his support for any political party. Partly because of that, he appears to have garnered support from Zimbabweans on both sides of the traditional political divide.

The IT minister is a former journalist, who warned last month that the authorities were planning to increase their “supervision” of social media.

He tweeted that he had donated furniture to Mawarire’s church, though he later acknowledged that this was before he was a government minister.

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