Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Terence Rusirevi: The three essential layers for the MDC: business capital, intellectual capital and activism

By Terence Rusirevi

I have in the past adumbrated several ideas which I think would help the MDC control the political discourse in the country and subsequently put Zanu PF on the back foot.

Leader of Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa is seen during an interview with the Associated Press in Harare, Thursday, March, 8, 2018. Chamisa is a charismatic lawyer and trained pastor who seeks to capitalize on goodwill towards his deceased predecessor and highlight the past of his military backed opponent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
Leader of Zimbabwe’s biggest opposition party, Nelson Chamisa is seen during an interview with the Associated Press in Harare, Thursday, March, 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Yep, I hollered about the importance of an MDC 24 hr TV station and a radio station to boot. But all these aspirations require the MDC to be a functional political party that attracts the best talent in the country and that is booming with ideas.

Most importantly, though, the MDC needs a sustainable business model if they are to achieve…well, anything, really. Yes indeed, a political party needs a reliable and regular revenue stream in order to action the things it espouses.

I mean, isn’t it galling that churches – some of which are run by bible bashing spivs -are able to raise millions of dollars per month and even have their own television channels yet the MDC, a party that seeks to bring tangible political and economic change that will benefit a multitude of millions of Zimbabweans isn’t able to do so?

It really grinds my gears. I really think it’s time to be serious, no more faffing around. So I’m proposing that the MDC needs to be run like a functional business, with loads of assets and capital if it is to be an effective force in Zimbabwe.

If the MDC is to be run like a business, what will be their product – what will they be selling to the public?

Well, with the risk of sounding cheesy, I’d say the MDC’s product is hope; it’s effective hope of political change in Zimbabwe. Effective hope is proactive, even in religion hope is not about praying to God for something and then sitting back waiting for Him to deliver – you pray and make moves towards your goal.

Effective hope is about having a road map to a final destination and being able to make visible gains along the way. For the MDC, the final destination is getting into power so that they can turn the economy around and then improve lives of the downtrodden Zimbabweans. Right now the MDC need to have a practicable road map that has visible gains along the way to the final destination.

What are these visible gains?

To me these visible gains need to be in business capital, intellectual capital (a newspaper, 24 hr TV and radio channel) and activism. So far there is not much wrong with the activism because Nelson Chamisa is drawing crowds of passionate supporters everywhere he goes. But there is a lot that needs to be done when it comes to capital.

Business capital

It goes without saying that the party needs regular revenue coming in every month. Money is the foundation on which the party’s aspirations can only be built. Maybe it’s time the party starts monthly subscriptions from all party members.

But people will not want to part with their money if the party is pissing about and achieving nothing. So in return, the party should give people value for money and this they can do by building intellectual capital which gives members effective hope.

I even propose that the MDC could invest some of the money in honest and profitable businesses. They could also use some of this money for humanitarian projects in the rural areas. The MDC needs to become an institution!!

Intellectual Capital

I have written extensively about intellectual capital, I’m damn near getting varicose veins just waiting for it to happen for the MDC. In this age of mass communication and technology, a party needs intellectual capital to control the political discourse.

Intellectual capital is the currency of politics in an era of 24 hr mass communication. If you don’t have the magic combo of a newspaper, a radio station and a 24 hr television channel that conveys your political message to the masses you will never control the political discourse.

The awesome thing about this intellectual capital is it’s ubiquity, it’s non stop, it’s everywhere and so the members who would be subscribing every month will see their money achieving something and so will demonstrate financial loyalty.

In essence, the MDC needs to have at least three layers, the business (i.e revenue streams + assets), intellectual capital (24 hr mass media presence -radio + TV channel), activism (street pounding and humanitarian projects).

Imagine if 300 000 MDC supporters paid $1 every month, this revenue would make the party an effective force, an institution! The time is now! No more faffing around.

Terence Rusirevi, MDC UK