MDC’s dismal performance at last month’s elections has cast a cloud of doubt on whether the party still has a future in Zimbabwe’s politics, raising fears it might fail to finance its survival until the next elections.
The results were particularly devastating for party leader Welshman Ncube, whose public appearances have all, but been reduced to zero.
While Ncube was not expected to win, many thought he would win a few seats to enable him and his party to hold a swing vote in the legislature.
But the MDC failed to win a single seat in the national assembly and council, with its only representation in Parliament coming via the newly introduced proportional representation system and the women’s quota.
A party insider said a major headache for the party will be financing the movement since it will not be benefiting from the Political Parties Finance Act.
“Most of the funding for MDC came from the Political Parties Finance Act, while the Joint Operations Monitoring and Implementation Committee vehicles came in handy for transportation,” the insider said.
“There is doubt that even the donors would continue funding the party after such a performance. The party, in the absence of financial backing, will struggle to keep offices open.
“There is also talk of uniting with the MDC-T to form a formidable coalition after it was discovered that more than 70 seats could have been won in the past elections had the parties united.”
Southern Africa International Crisis Group senior analyst Trevor Maisiri said Ncube had a challenge in keeping the party united.
“Welshman Ncube has a challenge of not only keeping the party together, but growing it,” he said.
“Unfortunately the performance of his party in the last elections will be a difficult platform to use for that.”
Political analyst Godwin Phiri said the party needed to go into serious self-introspection.
“Ncube and his party need to have a serious evaluation and find out what went wrong and question themselves about the presence of the party on the ground,” he said.
“Whether the elections were rigged or not, they need to find out what really resonates with the people. Perhaps, devolution, good as it is, was either not adequately explained or Zimbabweans felt there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed first.”
MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said the party was going through internal introspection to make sure that they improve from the experiences of the past elections.
“We are taking this time as a party to look at the internal processes that led to the outcome of the elections outside the irregularities,” he said.
“We are going to look at the external forces, but we will concentrate more on the progress from the past and it will show us where we should sharpen ourselves.
“We have already concluded that our focus is to achieve an organised unit in 2018.”
Dube said it was still early to think about the issue of coalitions as the party was still looking through internal processes.