A REGIONAL research unit, NKC African Economics, owned by one of the world’s leading independent global advisory firms Oxford Economics, has described deposed former vice-president Joice Mujuru as “perhaps Zimbabwe’s last realistic hope of salvation”, saying the veteran politician had more political clout than current opposition party leaders.

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By Taurai Mangudhla

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The South African-based risk assessment firm says Mujuru poses a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party who have been in power since Independence in 1980.

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The think-tank also says that Mujuru is more capable of turning around Zimbabwe’s ailing economy compared to her rival, including Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who may be Zanu PF’s presidential candidate in 2018.

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In a recent report titled Mujuru Has Sights On Power, Not Alliances With Those Who Threw It Away, NKC said Mujuru had significantly more political clout, more credibility, greater ambition and deeper prospects of success against Zanu PF than MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai.

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“This view holds despite the baggage of her long association with the draconian movement headed by President Robert Mugabe,” reads part of the report.

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The report says Mugabe is pale shadow of his former self, while Zanu PF is tearing itself apart from within in a series of succession power struggles that Mnangagwa “is still winning but at an increasing cost”.

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NKC, however, said as president, there was nothing to suggest Mnangagwa would be either willing or able to fundamentally alter Zimbabwe’s economic course.

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NKC believes Mujuru will not form a formal coalition with the MDC formations, but would instead get into informal arrangements “to ensure that, unlike the MDC-T’s political blunders of the past, where opposition parties either competed against each other or worse withdraw from contesting, leaving the field open to Zanu PF”.

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“The MDC factions have become a political joke and an embarrassment, so the mantle will fall to Mujuru. In our view, it is unlikely she would take the risk of a too close association with the failed opposition,” says the research body.

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The report was released after Mujuru unveiled her policy statement dubbed Blue-print to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build) ahead of a party launch under the People First banner later in the year.

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The report says its sources in Harare had suggested that an alliance would be unlikely.

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“As a result, any link-up with any MDC faction or remnants would be political suicide. Mujuru is a lot smarter than that.

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“There is every reason to believe she will use and abuse any opposition to Zanu PF that she can muster, including the lost cause of the MDC, but any prospect of a long-term formal alliance with other opposition groupings remains highly unlikely,” reads the report.

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“In this process, some sources said it is possible to offer sweeteners to some MDC senior officials, but nothing formal — and certainly no prospect of sharing. The ZimIn

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