By Maxwell Sibanda
Recent developments within the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, which point to the reality that the party is broke, is sad news.
Sad news because, as the biggest opposition political party in the country that has “consumed” other small parties to form a grand coalition, everyone would have thought the MDC had mobilised enough campaign resources ahead of the 2018 elections. Equally and sadly, these small parties also do not have money.
And there is no time left for the MDC to hit the ground and put up a spirited and sound campaign because running a successful campaign is expensive.
The campaigns need money for logistics that include fuel, the transport itself for campaigners who have to cover the whole country; the MDC needs to print flyers, campaign posters and as we approach 2018, they need to flight adverts in newspapers and the electronic media.
It is unfortunate therefore that the MDC has reportedly hit hard times, failing to pay its workers, an untenable situation that saw the party’s furniture being seized over a $108 000 debt to ex-workers as it also owes current workers thousands of dollars.
While the MDC is crying foul that it is owed in excess of $2 million which should come from the Political Parties (Finance) Act — a development which they should have foreseen — we hope they had plan B, hence assembling a well-coordinated fund raising team to source funds.
There should be good fundraising consultants in Zimbabwe who could have been engaged by the opposition party and since it is said to be financially broke, these could take a percentage of what they could have raised — this is world-wide practice.
Like most things, the right resources can make all the difference.
As for Tsvangirai, as the preferred candidate, fundraising is and should be his priority at the beginning, middle, and end of his campaign.
Has Tsvangirai been fundraising, if so, how much has he raised, how much has his party raised?
While the US elections and those held locally are different in all aspects, last year the Donald Trump campaign raised $334,8 million while $543,4 million was raised by his party and joint fundraising committees. Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s campaign raised $623,1 million while $598,2 million was raised by his party and joint fundraising committees.
How much has the MDC raised?
Tsvangirai should have been the best person to have been doing the asking and having face-to-face “sit downs” with potential donors as this personal engagement could be extremely compelling.
In an election campaign, there is no consolation for being a runner-up. Winning is everything.
And Tsvangirai should have assembled an election campaign strategy team that includes polling experts, statisticians and social scientists who would guide him and his party.
The MDC should be reminded that access to resources determines whether a candidate will run and already we have seen signals in which the opposition party is trying to limit electoral campaign expenses by cancelling primary elections.
Democracy in any political party entails that there is fair contestation of positions and this decree by MDC to forego primary elections means there will be imposition of candidates, which is dangerous.
We have witnessed past incidents where candidates have been imposed on the people and the results have been disastrous. Let the masses choose who they want and not the MDC to choose their preferred candidates for the people.
The MDC is a people’s party; hence it has to consult widely before reaching such decisions which will split the party entirely.
Tsvangirai should mobilise enough funds to hold primaries because imposing candidates, particularly sitting legislators, will backfire because some of them have not been performing to the expectation of the electorate. Daily News