Here’s a warning if you’re travelling through a Zimbabwean border post: do NOT move while the national flag is being hoisted. You could get arrested – or worse.
Sounds far-fetched but it’s what happened to a 25-year-old Zimbabwean man who didn’t stand to attention at Kariba border post last week, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Police said Courage Mushunje on Tuesday “allegedly insulted and disrespected the flag by keeping on walking when the national flag was being hoisted down at Kariba Border Post”, the lawyers say in a statement.
President Robert Mugabe’s government is increasingly touchy about anything to do with Zimbabwe’s flag following the launch of the #ThisFlag protest movement by Pastor Evan Mawarire last year.
When told to stand to attention, Mushunje is alleged to have told a state security agent “not to bother him as the national flag doesn’t belong to him”, ZLHR said.
The man says he was then harassed, assaulted, kidnapped and dumped in the bush.
Police then arrested him a day later. Mushunje was due to appear in court on Monday.
Mawarire was charged with disrespecting the national flag when he was arrested last month on his return from exile. There were other charges. He is currently out on bail.