Elected councillors of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai met in Harare Friday and chose councillor Benard Manyenyeni to contest the position of Harare mayor following a warning issued by outgoing Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo that government will block the occupation of the mayoral seat by an un-elected official.
Following Mr. Chombo’s threats that government will bar the MDC-T from submitting mayoral candidates who were not elected in local government elections on July 31, elected councillors of the MDC-T met at their party’s Harvest House headquarters and chose one of their own to be the mayor.
The MDC-T had nominated former Chisipite Senator Obert Gutu, who did not stand in the council elections, to run for the Harare mayoral seat in Harare. Mandla Nyathi, a lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology had also been nominated to contest the mayoral seat for Bulawayo under an MDC-T ticket.
Lawyers were divided as they tried to interpret the particular sections of the law regarding the issue of mayors in the country’s local authorities.
Some said the MDC-T was right to nominate a preferred person but others like Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the law was clear that a mayor can only be picked from elected councillors.
MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said his party is forging ahead with its court application challenging outgoing Minister Chombo’s threats.
Mwonzora said the election of Manyenyeni as a mayoral candidate by elected councillors was done as a second option in case the opposition party’s application in the court fails.
He said the MDC-T wants to ensure that Zanu PF does not get the mayoral seat.
Zanu-PF is yet to announce its candidates for mayoral seats in all the major towns and cities in the country.
Manyenyeni, 48, was born in Mvurwi and is married with two children. He lives in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.
He has been non-executive director of Pioneer Corp Africa Ltd. He is also a member of the company’s human resources and remuneration committee, audit and finance committee and risk committee.
He holds a business administration degree and masters degree in strategic management. He has over 20 years experience in the financial services sector and is currently general manager for Altfin Life Assurance. He has previously worked for companies like Old Mutual and Aon.