In 2010 Julius Malema was a big Robert Mugabe supporter, but he’s now evidently on the side of those calling for change. On Wednesday the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader weighed in on the continuing unrest in Zimbabwe
Never be governed by fear,” Malema said to the people of Zimbabwe, assuring them the EFF was on their side. Malema said victory was certain for the Zimbabwean people protesting against the Zanu-PF government, which has been in power since 1980 under President Robert Mugabe’s leadership.
“We are on the side of the people of Zimbabwe, never be governed by fear. The people always win like you did in the 80s. Victory is certain,” said Malema.
On July 6, the people of Zimbabwe embarked on a nationwide strike. The unrest is driven by a social media campaign, #ThisFlag, which asked all Zimbabweans to go on strike in protest against Mugabe’s government, which failed to pay many civil servants’ June salaries.
Violent clashes also erupted at Zimbabwe’s main border post with South Africa, Beitbridge, forcing its closure, when the Zimbabwean government banned the import of certain goods from South Africa.
Police have now also arrested Pastor Evan Mawarire, who has been the driving force behind the strike. Mawarire faces charges of inciting violence
Pastor Evan Mawarire is being charged with section 36 for inciting public violence and disturbing peace,” the #ThisFlag movement said on Twitter.
Mawarire has called for nonviolent protests, and has demanded that corrupt ministers be fired and civil servants be paid their salaries on time.
If there was anyone to be arrested for inciting public violence in Zimbabwe, then it needed to be Mugabe and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, and not the activists who were being persecuted by the government, opposition PDP leader Tendai Biti said Tuesday.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the ANC believes there are “sponsored elements seeking to affect regime change”. He said this while speaking at the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg where he was reporting back on the ANC’s national working committee meeting.
Zanu-PF MP Psychology Maziwisa also spoke in defence of Mugabe, saying he would not be “tweeted” out of power. This was in reference to the #ThisFlag Twitter campaign and other social media campaigns aimed at effecting regime change in the southern African country.
Malema visited Mugabe in 2010 while he was still president of the ANC Youth League. He at time lashed out at Zimbabwean opposition party MDC, then led by Morgan Tsvangirai, saying “I am visiting my friends”. At that time he also made it very clear that he was impressed by the way that Mugabe had taken land from white farmers.