Khupe and 20 other fringe candidates altogether gained less than 5% of the vote in the 2018 presidential election, which the military-controlled electoral commission claimed was won by Mnangagwa with 50.67% of the vote, ahead of Nelson Chamisa with 44.39%.
Although she personally gained only 45,000 votes in the election, Zanu PF have gone to great lengths to portray her as the legitimate MDC leader in succession to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, diverting state funding to her minority MDC faction.
Zimlive says she was due to lead a delegation to the United States in March from the Zanu PF-created Political Actors’ Forum (POLAD), which has been boycotted by Chamisa. The trip was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Zimlive documents show how a public relations firm hired by the government to improve its image in Washington lobbied American officials and lawmakers on Khupe’s behalf.
The firm described the POLAD team as ‘a truly diverse and representative delegation comprised of 17 of the political parties of Zimbabwe. As such, it represents the vast majority of Zimbabwe’s citizens as well as the vast majority of opposition parties, including leaders who put their lives on the line fighting for the ouster of the former tyrannical president Robert Mugabe.’
The documents include letters from Khupe to Tibor Nagy the top US diplomat for Africa in which she gave full backing to Mnangagwa’s regime, claiming it was ‘a new day in Zimbabwe’. She insisted that POLAD represented ‘a majority of Zimbabweans electorally’.
Zimlive says Khupe was intent on taking up Zanu PF”s sanctions grievance with US officials, ‘letting slip’ in one of her letters that Zanu PF officials were angry that they were unable to open bank accounts in the US and other countries (see: https://www.zimlive.com/2020/07/16/lobbying-firm-paid-by-zimbabwe-does-khupes-bidding-in-washington/).
The extent to which Zanu PF has corrupted civil society is shown by the abject attitude of Jimayi Muduvuri, described by the Herald as ‘patron’ of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Council of Churches. He condemned demonstrations planned by the opposition for 31st July saying that they ignored the threat posed by Covid-19 and claimed that opposition demonstrations often ended in violence. Muduvuri did not criticize the planned anti-sanctions demonstration by Zanu PF planned for the same day (see:https://www.herald.co.zw/just-in-churches-condemn-demos/).
- The Herald was predictably upbeat in its report on Finance Minister Ncube’s mid-year budget review. ‘Economy in good shape to survive Covid-19’ it declared (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/editorial-comment-economy-in-good-shape-to-survive-covid-19/).
- A different view is presented by CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel) which says ‘Zimbabwe could be headed for political upheaval as economic and health crises spiral’ (see: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/17/zimbabwe-could-be-headed-for-political-upheaval-as-economic-health-crises-spiral.html).
- Poor old Jeppy Jaboon, former Masvingo political commissar who defected to the MDC, has had his farm in Chiredzi seized by Mnangagwa’s son Kudakwashe (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2020/07/eds-son-in-land-grab/).
- Land is always a vexatious issue but top of the list must be Chitungwiza’s decision to allocate a residential stand in the middle of the road. Residents have demanded that the road be re-opened (see: https://www.herald.co.zw/council-allocates-stand-in-middle-of-road/).
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site (see: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715155063127). Our virtual Vigil activist today was Cynthia Chibanda who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
Events and Notices:
- ROHR’s Fundraising Walk for Freedom. Saturday 29th August . A 20 mile walk starting at Redbridge Station at 9 am and finishing at the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. For more information, contact: Esther Munyira 07492058107, Rangarirai Chivaviro 07378429599 and Benjamin Molife 07490909900.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
- Facebook pages:
- ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/
- ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515