Joice-MujuruBrian Chitemba and Kuda Bwititi
Retired Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare allegedly approached sacked Vice-President Joice Mujuru and MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to explore the possibility of the two opposition characters forming a coalition for 2018, it has emerged.

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Information gathered by The Sunday Mail indicates officials at the US Embassy in Harare roped Bishop Bakare into Washington’s longstanding anti-President Mugabe campaign and deployed him to play midwife to the proposed opposition formation.

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The Americans handpicked the clergyman to use his “softer social platform” to convince the two sides to amalgamate.

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Sources said Dr Mujuru had been undecided about taking the plunge but former War Veterans leader Jabulani Sibanda – also seething following his expulsion from Zanu-PF – pressured the disgraced ex-VP to pronounce her position after getting assurances that Western governments would bankroll her.

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Bishop Bakare then engaged her and Mr Tsvangirai separately.

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But the MDC-T frontman is still reluctant to have Dr Mujuru lead the “broad opposition”, arguing that he is a bigger “brand”.

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It had been proposed, according to sources, that Dr Mujuru head the coalition, with Mr Tsvangirai and a second person, either from a church background or Dr Simba Makoni, deputising.

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The hope is Dr Mujuru will bring the liberation war credentials that Mr Tsvangirai lacks, while he maintains the “modern democratic element”.

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A clergymen would provide the “finishing” with a social platform.

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A source said: “The idea of roping in the bishop was to ensure that both sides listened to a ‘neutral’ that they both respect. From what we’ve gathered, Bishop Bakare has been running this project for some time now and, of course, the Western hand is not too far here.

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“Tsvangirai ceased being their main opposition figure following his many electoral defeats. Contact had been made with Amai Mujuru while she was in Government; it therefore did not take time for them to ‘locate’ her when she was booted out of Zanu-PF and Government.”

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Another source close to People First said, “It was Jabu who pressured Mai Mujuru to lead Gamatox as People First. Otherwise, she was at sixes and sevens. It was also him who pressured her to issue that statement that is the manifesto.

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“Ibbo Mandaza, I understand, penned that document and he is working as a technocrat within the limited structures.”

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Bishop Bakare and Dr Ibbo Mandaza could not be reached for comment, while People First spokesman Rugare Gumbo declined commenting.

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Political analysts scoffed at the planned alliance as another telling sign of Westerners’ rabid fixation with opposing President Mugabe.

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National Constitutional Assembly leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku said: “As the NCA, we have made our position clear before that we will not be part of such a coalition.

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‘‘I find it amazing that the Mujuru group would want to form a political party for the sake of being in a coalition.

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“You should form your party to grow your ideas, get the buy-in from the people, rather than form a party just to get power.

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‘‘As the NCA ,our ambition is not to be part of any coalition but to reach out to the people.”

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National University of Science and Technology Dean of Communication and Information Science Dr Lawton Hikwa said: “I would be surprised if such a coalition would ever bear fruit. I think it is just talk which should be dismissed.

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‘‘We have an opposition party, the MDC, which has been splitting almost endlessly over the years. I have even lost count of the number of MDCs that are there now.

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“Look, political parties should be based on a sound ideology. What ideology will that coalition seek to advance? All I see here are people eyeing the Presidency and aiming to remove President Mugabe from power. But otherwise, they have no real ideology, they have no real political trajectory.”

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Highfield National Assembly representative (Zanu-PF) Cde Psychology Maziwisa added: “Whatever coalition they come up with will be a coalition of failed politicians who lack the necessary wherewithal to dislodge a formidable party like Zanu-PF.

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“Zimbabwe needs a visionary and skilful leader — not a gang of third grade politicians who are in politics just for the sake of it.”

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Political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa said the planned coalition was nothing new and was a repeat of the failed 2008 “Bhora Musango” machinations.

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“What should be understood is that the planned coalition is not a home-grown project, but an initiative being plotted by the West as part of its regime change agenda.

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“It is a prerequisite to getting access to Western funding, because the West has cut funds to Tsvangirai after realising that he is not a bankable politically. It is, therefore, just a repeat of the Mavambo project, which was also used to front Bhora Musango.

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“The people are not stupid. They are aware of what the West is trying to do. Besides, Bhora Musango has been defeated before, so it will be defeated again.”

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Zanu-PF has said it is not bothered by Dr Mujuru, as the revolutionary party is preoccupied with turning economic matters.

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