HARARE – Miss Grand International management has turned a blind eye on local pageant organiser Samantha Tshuma’s self-appointment as the country’s representative to the showcase to be held in Bangkok Thailand.
A model, Fungai Mawada, who was the winner in local contests is surprised that Tshuma has replaced her in controversial circumstances.
Vhukani Chris Mhlanga, a public relations officer for Tshuma, a former Miss Tourism beauty queen vehemently justified the appointment citing that the girls were not qualified.
When the Daily News got wind of the developments, we caught up with Miss Grand International organisers who professed ignorance over the whole matter, saying what a country does is their own business.
Teresa Chaivisut, vice president of Miss Grand International said they had no comment on Tshuma’s self-appointment.
“A national director appointed for each country has full authority and is in charge of selecting the delegate from each country following our requirement.
“We will not interfere with their domestic policy,” she said.
Their indifference has left many wondering how their pageant is run as there were girls who were aspiring contestants.
Upon being contacted for comment, Tshuma was not reachable and Mhlanga said: “Samantha is not qualified to speak to the press.”
On learning that the Daily News had enquired on what they did, Mhlanga was furious, accusing the reporter of having something “personal” against Tshuma.
“Your complaint is questionable as we do not understand your interests or motives.
“The entire Zimbabwean interested contestants were given a chance to enter Miss Grand Zimbabwe and the 10 elected provincial managers brought forward 16 girls out of a possible 30 (we requested). While in camp, they had daily workshops and the top contestant from that camp was awarded at our Miss Grand Zimbabwe launch, her prize; a trip to the inaugural Miss Grand International in Thailand, together with the Zimbabwean delegation and Zimbabwean representative.”
Mhlanga went on to disregard the fact that they had selected one Fungai Mawada to be the representative and remained arrogant on the fact that the girl was not happy.
“We will not compromise to make irrelevant parties happy and we are not happy with the girls that came through and that’s final.
“We are free and fearless; we are not apologetic for our decision. The Miss Grand International board has accepted our nomination of Samantha Tshuma. Your coverage and investigations cannot and will not change the situation.”
He justified Tshuma’s appointment citing that she was the best person for the job.
“Samantha’s credentials speak for themselves. It would have been nice for her (and us) to mentor a new face, unfortunately the girls did not meet the criteria. Samantha has what Miss Grand International are looking for and we deem her fit and within the requirements criteria and have forwarded her to the organisers as Zimbabwean 2013 representative."
“We are not apologetic for that and in fact, are proud to have a sound contender.”
Mawada’s manager, Amanda Mutangadura said she was shocked with what happened.
“We were surprised when we heard that Samantha had replaced Fungai.
“A selection process was held and the girls were in camp for a week and were made to pay money for that.
“What angers me is that they selected Fungai and they just woke up one day with Samantha in her place.
“We have been trying to talk to Samantha but she is always making up excuses that she is busy, that she will return our calls but she never does,” he said.