Harare, Zimbabwe, Sep 24 – Zimbabwean activist pastor Evan Mawarire was on Sunday arrested during a church service after he posted a video bemoaning the country’s worsening economic troubles, his lawyer said.
The charismatic pastor who has been arrested several times for his dissenting views informed the congregation about his imminent arrest in a video streamed live on Facebook.
The video showed him being led away to an unmarked car.
His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo confirmed the arrest, saying “he has been charged with subverting a constitutional government”.
“He is detained at Harare central police station and we are preparing for his appearance in court,” said Nkomo.
In the video, Mawarire interrupted the service to tell the church about the presence of the police.
“I am told that the police are outside waiting for me,” he said.
On Saturday, Mawarire posted a video on social media showing long queues at fuel stations with petrol and diesel supplies scarce across Zimbabwe as the economy buckles under a foreign currency shortage.
Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar and other foreign currencies to stem galloping inflation which peaked at 231 million percent officially, and resorted to introducing bond notes -– a surrogate currency –- last year as banks ran short of foreign currency.
But the bond notes have not eased the country’s currency woes.
Mawarire is currently facing charges of misconduct and inciting violence after he addressed university students striking over fee hikes in February.
He is also due in court on Monday for a separate charge of trying to remove the government.
The charges stem from his involvement in organising a crippling strike in July last year that shut down major cities and paralysed public transport, prompting the government to ban public protests.
After his release he fled to South Africa and then to the United States.
Upon his return on February 1, police arrested him at the airport in Harare and charged him with attempting to sabotage the government.
The US government said last week said it was monitoring his situation.