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By Stewart Musarapasi

The MDC Alliance goes to its make or break congress this coming May 2019, but let me look at it from both angles in – business terms and in political connotations.

When a company introduces a new product adding to other product range already on the market, there are high chances of the existing product to face what in marketing is called product cannibalization which refers to a reduction in sales volume, sales revenue, or market share of one product as a result of the introduction of a new product by the same producer.

One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to simplify the possible scenario facing the MDC Alliance towards its presidium. The last Congress was held in 2014.

External hands allegedly from other political parties are eagerly waiting if and only if there are new products thrown to the nomination hat just to dilute and confuse the main man who is currently at the helm during the congress time. The excuse which onlookers are coming up with is in the word called democracy.

The same onlookers barking from the other side of the river bank the question then come, are they practicing democracy from their own stables, have they exhibited it within their own structures. We talk of democracy but this is a hugely abused word which is expensive to be exercised politically by parties even most governments world over especially in our continent Africa

The demise of the icon Morgan Tsvangirai on the 14 th of February 2018, ushered in a young vibrant and energetic leader in Nelson Chamisa who managed to revive the prospects of the opposition MDC Alliance hopes for change. Taking the throne was not a walk in the park as the then other presidium members Thokozani Khupe and Engineer Mudzuri were also eyeing to take control of the ship.

The late Morgan Richard Tsvangirai was the genesis of a real fight against a now half a century ruling party. The challenge which the original Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] brought against Zanu PF came with a price as some members of opposition fled the country into permanent exile remember the likes of MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa, some lost their lives.

At the height of MDC powerful moments saw it splitting in 2005 with Professor Welshman Ncube having his break away after dispute on senatorial elections issues. We witnessed two or so splinter groups breaking away from the main tent MDC with Job Sikhala and Tendai Biti having their own formations from the main tent.

This build up picture is necessary to make people understand the journey which some of the notable figures within the opposition travelled. As the adage goes movements never die, the splinter MDC parties became almost three but the main tent remained intact. Morgan Tsvangirayi successful tried his level best to soldier on with those remained. MDC managed to shake the ruling party in March 2008 harmonized elections with some suggestions pointing to a resounding MDC landslide victory then.

Fast forward on 15 July 2016 saw the late Morgan Tsvangirayi appointing two Vice Presidents Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri who joined Thokozani Khupe making a total of three VPs. There were mixed feelings then, with other critics having displeasure saying that the process undermined democracy especially towads the one who was appointed via congress.

The late Tsvangirayi had a valuable reason in that he was diagnosed with colon cancer and he wanted the movement to carry on its mandate without his illness being an impediment. The writer will not dwell much on the deeper issues of the structures of the then MDC presidium but to explore what is critical at hand now before the Congress.

Branding is one of the vital components in marketing which brings permanent customers or loyalty within the organization’s targeted segments. Customers will opt to purchase the same brand until the end of their life time. Those in sports can choose for an example Nike sportswear, that is the brand which a particular customer will be preferring some, Addidas, Puma etc.

Same happens in politics on supporters towards their leaders. It might have been good for democracy to accommodate the Mwonzoras and the Mudzuris as the rumour say they are also eager for the throne.

As it stands right now Advocate Nelson Chamisa is the brand image of Movement of Democratic Change Alliance [MDC A]. The young leader resurrected the party from the verge of falling down on its support base and took head on ruling party and credit to this young and vibrant leader he charmed the whole country and harvested more than two million voters of the July 2018 Presidential Elections.

Besides the handful who left the party, he managed to fullfil the late Dr. Tsvangirayi’s wish to bring back Welshman Ncube, Tendai Biti and those from other parties to form an Alliance code named MDC Alliance.

This article started by highlighting the dangers of product cannibalism, which is usually brought after an organization recklessly introduces a new product adding to the already existing product range on the market.

Democracy yes must be practiced, but this is one of the hugely abused word. MDC Alliance cannot make experiments at this juncture, they can’t manufacture their own down fall and bring confusion to the masses. This Chamisa momentum must not be just diffused for the sake of democracy, to who and for the why.

The timing doesn’t allow new product to be thrown on the market, the Congress members must hold on their product which is selling exceptionally well at the moment. Can MDC A successfully be organized on this Congress, otherwise if there is no sound consensus on this regard it will mean victory to outsider forces who are rumoured to be hand picking names which they want to smuggle in to the Congress via dubious means.

Stewart Musarapasi is a Business and Political Analyst based in Europe. He can be contacted via Email: stewartmsp@gmail.comTwitter: stewart_mspFacebook: Stewie Musarapasi

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