11 October 2008
Parliament makes history
For the first time in the history of parliament in the country, a visually impaired person has been elected to occupy a seat in Senate.
Tom Mndzebele, who is visually impaired and a known activist of rights for the physically disabled, was yesterday voted by Members of Parliament to join Senate.
Mndzebele was nominated by Ndzingeni MP, Lutfo Dlamini, who did some massive campaigning for him inside the House.
Leader of local community police, Robert Zwane was also elected into Senate. He got 23 votes.
Former Deputy President of Senate, Ngom’yayona Gamedze was also voted in after amassing the highest number of votes. He received 30.
Former Tourism, Environment and Communication minister Thandi Shongwe also secured herself a seat in the upper chamber with 27 votes. She was nominated by Kukhanyeni MP Clement Dlamini.
Brother to Lutfo Dlamin, Bhutana, a one time councillor at Matsapha Town Board, was also elected into Senate after having been nominated by Manzini North MP Macford Nsibandze.
Others who are now senators are Nelsiwe Shongwe (25 votes) and Ndileka Dlamini, who runs a pre-school at Lobamba Lomdzala (23 votes).
Relatively unknown Victor Malambe (32), a businessman based at Mhlangatane shocked many when he got the second highest votes. Nozibele Bujela is also a Senator.
There had to be a by-election as Mr. Bread director, Wayne Levendale and Tom Mndzebele tied at 16 votes.
Mndzebele won the by election with a landslide as he got 44 votes whilst Levendale got 16 votes. In the female category, three ballot papers were spoilt and five in the male section.
More surprises as favourites crash out
“Politics is a dirty game,” remarked a man seated at the public gallery of the House of Assembly yesterday as the apparently big shots of local politics and other election losers fell with a heavy thud from the race to the honourable house.
Former Minister Dumsile Sukati did not make it to the House as she got only 16 votes.
Former Senator Bella Khatamzi crashed out with a meagre nine votes.
Former Manzini North MP Maria Ntshangase watched from the public gallery as her political career vanished into thin air. She received only 10 votes. Siphofaneni based businesswoman, Thoko Gamedze was also one of the losers as she also amassed 10 votes.
Former Senator Isaac Shabangu’s look could have hurt even a fly passing across his face as he lost his honourable status.
Bomber Mthethwa, the Football Association chief, was also one of the losers.
Times journalist Senzo Dlamini is probably still wondering what has hit him as he saw his political career, which never was, vanishing into thin air.
For the whole day yesterday, the scribe was seen busy prancing around, lobbying legislators to nominate him. After the results, Dlamini’s eyes were as glossy as a wet floor and he was seen speaking to his MP Majahodvwa Khumalo about his fate. HM Stationery owner, Hezekiel Mabuza’s wishes of attaining an honorable status were also dashed.
Zabenguni Nxumalo, also known as DJ Bling, who lost the primary elections at Manzini North, also failed to secure a seat in Senate yesterday.
Other losers were bus owner Robbie Zeeman, former senator Mike Temple, former MP Maqhawe Mavuso and Vusi Ndlangamandla.
11 October 2008
MP Lutfo re-writes history books; nominates blind man into Senate
By SIHLE MAVUSO
LOBAMBA- History books were rewritten yesterday when former Minister of Enterprise and Employment and Ndzingeni elected MP Lutfo Dlamini successfully nominated a blind man into Senate.
Tom Mndzebele, the man who long dedicated his life to helping his fellow disabled persons, yesterday became the first visually impaired Member of Parliament beating hands down able and seasoned politicians who watched in dismay as their political careers went up in smoke.
Mndzebele’s victory was not an easy one though as the House had to go for a run off after a tie with another nominee Mister Bread boss Wayne Levandale with 16 votes.
It was then that Mndzebele proved too good for Levandale as he scooped 44 votes while Lavandale managed only 16.
His road to the august House was launched by the former minister who went out of his way to make it a point that the disabled community is at least represented in Parliament this time around.
MP Dlamini explained that from the time he joined elections in his constituency he appointed a visually impaired agent who at first was interested in joining the race, but as a result of the attitude of the people towards disabled he could not stand the heat.
The former minister said he made a promise that he would make it a point that in this Parliament they are directly represented. "I am happy with what I have achieved today," said MP Dlamini after seeing his nominee winning the tight race.
"This is the climax of my political career and really I thank the MPs who supported me in this mission," he said.
MP Dlamini said he had been with Mndzebele in several struggles for the disabled persons and he realised the passion in him.
"This will not only do well for the disabled people, but it will also put this country in a good position in the region that we do recognise the disabled. Take for instance in Lesotho they have a blind Minister of Justice so really it was nothing for us to elect a blind man into Parliament," he said.
One of the MPs who was behind Mndzebele’s campaign, Timothy Myeni went out of his way during the elections run off to remind his colleagues that the Mndzebele they were talking about is a blind man.
Obviously this set the tone in the House as almost everyone realised the importance of having a man like Mndzebele in Parliament.
Mndzebele defeated the likes of former Senators Isaac Shabangu, Mike Temple, Former Mkhiweni MP Machawe Mavuso and his former Mangcongco colleague, Patrick Pha Motsa, Adam Bomber Mtsetfwa and many others.
... Blind man over the moon with joy
MABABANE- The fist visually impaired man to make it into Parliament, Tom Mndzebele, is over the moon with joy about his new job and it appears he can ‘see’ clearly now.
Mndzebele said he was so pleased when the news was broken to him that he was now a legislator after successfully ousting Mister Bread chief, Wayne Levandale in an election run off after they tied at 16 votes.
"I am so happy and I don’t know where to start in expressing the joy I feel about what has been done for me," said a modest Mndzebele in an interview last night. "This is not my personal achievement but for all the people who are disabled in the country," he said.
He explained that his focus would be advocating for equal opportunities for disabled people who in most cases are looked down upon in the country.
"I would like to thank MP Lutfo Dlamini for the courage he showed in taking up our issues and we hope that the other MPs would learn from him," he said.