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Pressure continued to mount against the battle-hardened Vice President Joice Mujuru at the weekend, when she was dumped by her Mashonaland Central Province stronghold.

This means she is not eligible to be elected to the party's Central Committee at the forthcoming congress. If she is not on the committee she cannot be in the politburo either. This effectively dooms her political career to the wilderness.

The development has led to her sympathisers to suggest that, as she has a big following across the Zanu (PF) structures, she should form her own party. But political analysts and ordinary citizens interviewed by The Zimbabwean this week have warned the rejected Vice President never to think of forming her own political party. According to them, she is better off as an ordinary card-carrying Zanu PF member, no-matter much opposition or anti-Zanu PF tycoons could offer her.

"Since Joice's life is all about politics she should be heroine enough to consider leading a Zanu (PF) splinter party. She has the majority of supporters on her side and could successfully challenge Mugabe at the polls," said a Central Committee member on condition of anonymity.

He said no-one would dare come out in the open about their allegiance to Mujuru, they would express their will in a secret ballot.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, political analyst and director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said there was no prospect of Mujuru forming a political party as she 'lacked the guts' to do so and was aware of the consequences.

Mujuru would not dare go against Mugabe as she would be stripped of her privileges, wealth and financial muscle acquired through patronage.

"A few in Zanu (PF) acquired their wealth through entrepreneurship, but the majority are parasites to Mugabe's type of politics. If Mujuru decides to compete openly against him by forming her political party, she would be reduced to a poor common woman on the streets," said Ruhanya, warning that Mugabe was vindictive and would ruthlessly deal with his detractors - both real and imagined.

A political analyst who chose to remain anonymous given her 'close links with Zanu (PF) said: "Joice could pull a shocker at the elective congress and survive. But forming a political party or joining the opposition would cost her life."

Farai Nyandoro, former Marondera mayor, said Mujuru's only option was to join forces with like-minded democrats, as forming her own party would not be viable.

"If allegations levelled against Mujuru have substance she could have been calling for renewal in Zanu (PF) and she would do herself justice by joining any of the political renewal projects. She has a broad political outlook and would be advised to team up with like-minded others," Nyandoro said.

Edington Mugova, founder and coordinator for Zimbabwe Reveal for Peace, said: "Mujuru is respected and liked by a significant number of people and should form a grand coalition with the democratic forces. Her wings have been clipped beyond capability to pull any surprise at the congress."

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