Tsvangirai narrows Byo Senator search

HARARE - MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai, poised to pick a new Senator for Bulawayo Metropolitan province, has been in talks with key officials in the second city and promised to unveil his nominee soon, with three officials among those under close consideration.

Tsvangirai has been in talks with the Provincial Executive Committee to discuss filling the Senate’s lingering vacancy caused by the death of MDC National Executive member Victor Mapungwana on February 17.

The appointment as a Senator requires MDC national council confirmation.

Obert Gutu, the MDC spokesperson, said the opposition leader has narrowed his focus and is looking very seriously at a short list of candidates.

“Consultations are currently taking place within Bulawayo province and in the fullness of time, president . . . Tsvangirai will be making an appropriate announcement,” Gutu told the Daily News yesterday.

Insiders claimed among the frontrunners are dethroned Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda — fired for alleged corruption last week on the recommendations of an independent tribunal appointed by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere; Felix Mafa, a former Magwegwe legislator; and Mandla Nyathi, a National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturer.

“The three have received a lot of attention from the president. He knows who they are. He is familiar with their records.

“He’s clearly impressed with their backgrounds,” a source said.

Senate president Edna Madzongwe announced in the Upper House last month the death of Mapungwana — who replaced Matson Hlalo last year after his recall from Parliament for dragging the party to court challenging the ascendancy of Banda to the post of Bulawayo MDC chairperson.

The 50-year-old Senator died after a short illness and was buried at the Lady Stanley Cemetery.

As with all proportional representation seats, the vacancy must be filled by a person nominated by the late Senator’s party in accordance with the procedure laid down in Section 39 of the Electoral Act.

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