Zimbabwe Opposition aims to unhinge both Mnangagwa government and Khupe MDC-T with July 31 protests


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in
Zimbabwe from a low base, but with little effective physical distancing
measures and very little testing to restrain its spread.

Hunger continues to grow the more the economic
dislocation from the pandemic continues, especially falling remittances from
the diaspora.

A bitter strike by nurses in government
hospitals over their pitiful pay and lack of PPE demonstrates how dire the
situation is even for government employees, and the arrest of 13 of the
strikers demonstrates how wrong-headed the government is in dealing with this
new form of national crisis.

The international community, through both the
Paris Club and the EU Ambassador, have continued to insist that the Mnangagwa
government make more substantial political reforms and also clear their
outstanding debts with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African
Development Bank, before any international rescue package will be considered.

The Chamisa-led MDC Alliance along with its G40
sponsors calculate that the government is vulnerable to mass protests and
intend to make such a protest happen on July 31, the anniversary of the 2018
National Elections which Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF won, and the date set for the
Extraordinary Congress for MDC-T by the Supreme Court order.

Thokozani Khupe, Acting President of MDC-T, has
struck hard at the Chamisa bloc in the parliament, while at the same time
fighting for her own political future against rivals inside MDC-T. If Khupe can
win the party presidency at the Congress she would be the first woman to lead
the main opposition. She has the support of many women’s organisations in this
challenge, but is also subject to attack. Chamisa’s thugs assaulted her and
MDC-T Secretary-General Monzwora when they attended the funeral for Chamisa’s
mother recently.

President Mnangagwa finally hit a goal when he
sacked Health Minister Obediah Moyo on July 7 for corrupt handling of a
COVID-19 procurement contract. But this is not enough on its own to shift the
country out of a culture of gross corruption.

The Zimbabwean people are being asked to make a
choice on July 31, and the evidence is mounting that they have decided that
Chamisa’s determination to reject the outcome of the July 31 2018 election is
no good for the country, left more and more starkly alone to cope with the
catastrophe of economic collapse plus pandemic.

Zimbabwe
Information Centre, Australia
July 13, 2020