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#This Flag activist Mawarire joins Chess great Kasparov at prestigious US freedom and democracy ‘Voices of Dissent’ forum

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By Staff Reporter


Zimbabwean human rights activist and pastor, Evan Mawarire is set to take part in a debate in the United States to discuss issues surrounding freedom and democracy.

The debate will also feature self exiled Russian chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

Mawarire, who faced persecution under the late former president Robert Mugabe’s regime, will be one of the panelists in the public debate on what it means to be a dissident.

The event will be held on October 20, at Dartmouth College, under the theme ‘Voices of Dissent: A Conversation with Garry Kasparov and Evan Mawarire’.

Host and moderator, Victoria Kolt, said for societies to function it was important to converse on issues to do with civil rights.

“Dissent is critical for societies to function. Dissidents go to another level to speak for freedom and democracy despite the personal costs,” Holt said.

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“I’m delighted to host two prominent dissidents, Garry Kasparov of Russia and Evan Mawarire of Zimbabwe, at Dartmouth to share their experiences with us and for Dartmouth to host this conversation,” she said.

Mawarire and Kasparov both faced persecution from dictatorial governments with the former having been arrested and detained following his #ThisFlag campaign in 2016.

Mawarire was charged with inciting violence after he successfully mobilised students, churches and civic societies to demand political reforms during Mugabe’s era.

He was released after courts deemed the charges laid against him by the State unconstitutional.

On the other hand, panelist, Kasparov, a democracy activist and writer previously ran for Russian presidency in 2008 before withdrawing from the race.

In 2013, following Vladimir Putin’s asscendence to power, Kasparov fled Russia in fear of persecution.

He later founded the Renew Democracy Initiative in 2017, an American political organisation promoting and defending liberal democracy in the U.S. and abroad.