A GROUP of Zimbabweans living in Perth are calling on their peers to gather in Ascot this weekend to show support for the #thisflag campaign.
Rivervale resident Lucky Ngoshi said she, Keith Makuni (Kardinya), and Marshal Mtangwani (Success) set up the International Campaign for Zimbabwe Facebook page and organised the July 16 event after following the campaign and protests in Africa.
With an estimated 10,000 Zimbabwe-born people living in Western Australia, they hope others will join them for a peaceful event wearing the nation’s flag or its colours at Garvey Park between noon and 2pm.
Pastor Evan Mawarire started the flag social media campaign earlier this year, which gathered momentum in July as people planned stay aways amid a cash shortage and hunger made worse by drought.
“(Zimbabwean police) arrested the pastor who started everything – they arrested him because he encouraged people to stay away,” Miss Ngoshi said.
“He doesn’t want violence; there’s no need for violence.
“The majority of people did not go to work (on July 6).”
Miss Ngoshi, who has lived in Perth since 2005, said people here had been following the events and received updates via social media that Mr Mawarire was arrested on the eve of a two-day stay away this week.
“They were charging him with inciting violence – the morning he went to court, that’s when they changed his charges to treason,” she said.
“He had 100 lawyers representing him.”
The magistrate dismissed the charges on Wednesday night, and the pastor walked out of the Rotten Row courthouse to a crowd of supporters.
Miss Ngoshi said similar events to the one they planned had been taking place overseas, including in the UK, and they wanted to show their support for people in Zimbabwe.
“The struggle is still going on,” she said.
“We cannot just be posting pictures and sharing stuff – we really need to do something, also take a stand.
“I’m the only person in my family who is here – even though I’m okay, my family are not.”
Mr Makuni has lived in WA since 2008, and said his father and siblings still lived in Zimbabwe.
He said, as citizens of the African country living abroad, they wanted to make a stand against the violence and political issues.
“Politics have gone bad,” he said.
“People no longer have food; people no longer have electricity; there’s no water.
“There’s violation of human rights as well as injustice.
“As young people, we are responsible to build a new Zimbabwe; to build a new government.
“Our president is 92 years old; our politics is outdated.”
Mr Makuni said there were many Zimbabweans in Australia who came to study and did not want to return to the country afterwards because of those issues and the 90 per cent unemployment rate.
He said those in Australia and abroad often sent money home to help relatives and enjoyed the democracy here.
“We’ve learnt a lot here that we can also implement back home,” he said.
“Enough is enough; we need to fight for human rights; we need to say no to corruption.
“Let’s stay hopeful and let’s believe that change will come.
“It’s up to us citizens to stand up for what’s right.
“We want a Zimbabwe that will give an opportunity for everyone.
“For kids to come as well – we have to think about the next generation.”