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Tributes flood in as ‘truly heroic’ Green candidate for GM mayor dies

The Green Party’s candidate for May’s Greater Manchester mayoral contest died suddenly on New Year’s Day, leaving open who the party will field in the inaugural election.

Deyika Nzeribe, 50, was a community activist who had previously served as chair of the party’s Manchester branch and stood in several local elections to represent Hulme ward in the city.

Nzeribe had only been declared in October as the party’s chosen candidate for the contest, in which he was expected to compete with the frontrunner for the role, Labour MP Andy Burnham.

“Deyika was one of the most compassionate and thoughtful people I know. He cared deeply about equality for everyone, in Hulme, Manchester and as a mayoral candidate for all the communities in Greater Manchester,” said Nzeribe’s campaign manager Astrid Johnson, who is also co-chair of the Manchester Green Party.

“He wanted to tackle discrepancies in Greater Manchester and his campaign would have been about this as well as climate change. I don’t know how we will replace him.”

News of Nzeribe’s death evoked sadness across the community as former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett called his death a “huge loss” for the party and the city of Manchester.

Condolences also emerged from candidates in the GM mayoral contest, with Burnham describing Nzeribe as a “thoroughly decent man”.

Cllr Jane Brophy, a Trafford councillor and the Liberal Democrats’ candidate in the election, said: “Nzeribe’s fight for a greener environment was a truly heroic one and I was really looking forward to campaigning alongside him on the many issues we agree with.”

Johnson confirmed that it was too soon for the party to discuss naming a new candidate to represent it in the election.

The other candidates currently contesting Burnham and Brophy for the role of Greater Manchester mayor this May include Trafford council leader Sean Anstee, who will represent the Conservatives, and Ukip’s Shneur Odze.

(Image c. Manchester Green Party)

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