PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao says he no longer has ambition to seek public office but would like to serve the nation through providing “evidence-based research” to help the government reach informed decisions.
By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Zhuwao made the claims in an interview with The Standard as speculation swirls that the formation of the Zhuwao Institute could be a subtle way of reinventing his floundering political career.
“I am not interested in public office any longer. I can serve Zimbabwe much better without the constraints of public office,” Zhuwao said.
He said the country’s problems were compounded by making decisions without the requisite evidence-based research into solutions.
“Zimbabwe’s biggest challenge is that economic decisions are made in the absence of thorough economic considerations and this causes our businesses to struggle because they fail to relate to the socio-economic environment,” he said.
He stressed the need for the country to have many think tanks to assist in providing new information and advising policy makers.
“We need to have a proliferation of think tanks and research institutions that will assist the country to go towards evidence-based policy making,” he said.
Zhuwao’s political star dimmed in 2013 when he lost his Zvimba East parliamentary seat to his distant relative and former Mugabe security aide Francis Mukwangariwa in party primaries.
However, last month Zhuwao came back into the public limelight just before the Zanu PF Women’s League conference that endorsed Grace Mugabe’s elevation to the politburo as the women’s league boss when he claimed Zanu PF Harare province wanted to banish the First Lady to Zvimba.
Zhuwao was also part of the group of four (Philip Chiyangwa, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and himself) who were reportedly approached to help source funding for the women’s conference after the party had held a chaotic youth conference a few days earlier.
Speculation then grew that Zhuwawo belonged to the Mnangagwa faction that was allegedly behind Grace’s entrance into politics from the top — the politburo.
Zhuwao dismissed the allegations as spurious and the work of people who could not read politics.
“Anybody who reads into that in that manner is devoid of reason and an irreconcilable idiot. The effort we contributed was from all members of the women’s league, not a faction,” he said.
He added, “One of the big donors to the Women’s League was Vice-President Mujuru and that makes it totally nonsensical to read our gesture as factional, let alone assisting Mnangagwa.”
Despite his denials, it is emerging that Zhuwao, through his institute, could turn out to be the ultimate guardian of Mugabe’s legacy in the party and country where he is strategically positioning himself as the brains behind the throne.
“The institute will be giving research-based advice to government departments and cabinet on possible solutions to socio-economic problems,” he said.
Zhuwao said he funded the institute and it would soon be earning an income from its projects such as offering Strategic Planning and Institutional Development training to public institutions.
“We will be working with local authorities and other public bodies and private companies on capacity development as consultants,” he said.
Zhuwao argued his academic qualifications put him in a good position to create a think tank and help the development of the country socio-economically.
He holds five degrees which include BSc Computer Systems Engineering, MBA in Information Technology Management, BSc Hons Economics, Masters in Management and Public and Development Management and the MSc Economics that he was awarded on Friday at the University of Zimbabwe.