By Staff Reporter
While MDC leader Nelson Chamisa was consoling former President Robert Mugabe’s widow Grace in Harare, party Redcliff MP Lloyd Mukapiko was Thursday throwing his last year’s parliamentary victory celebratory bash in his Redcliff base.
Falling under Kwekwe District which is considered President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s backyard, Redcliff is currently controlled by the opposition party.
Chamisa, who has been accused by party supporters of adopting a soft stance towards the late Mugabe, has since postponed the party’s 20th anniversary celebrations which were scheduled for this week.
Mukapiko rose to prominence after he last year thrashed his then all powerful employer and Mnangagwa’s key ally in now Local Government Minister July Moyo.
Then a Redcliff Council employee as a cemetery attendant, Mukapiko shocked all when he challenged and defeated his boss at last year’s polls.
“It was like a biblical David and Goliath affair,” Mukapiko said of his power contestation with Moyo in last year’s polls.
He told party supporters his deep roots in the steelworks suburb, home to the now comatose integrated steel works Ziscosteel, “made me throw a thank you bash for supporters”.
In an interview, he explained his strange choice of the period to throw a bash.
“My term in parliament has so far been littered with serious trials and tribulations. A few months into my term, I was arrested and spent nearly a month in prison. When we applied to host the event the police were not granting us the green light.
“We could have hosted the bash a bit earlier but we could not be granted permission as during those days our party was gripped with national demonstrations. So they granted us this day and we couldn’t postpone the event any further,” he said.
Mukapiko was earlier this year arrested and slapped with subversion charges which were however, dismissed by the courts for lack of evidence.
The MDC lawmaker chose to go against the spirit set by the MDC leadership when he added in the interview that Mugabe’s legacy in the eyes of the people of Redcliff was that of failure.
“I think the people of Redcliff will remember Mugabe more for incompetence which was the hallmark of his tenure. The demise of Ziscosteel under acrimonious circumstances points to that legacy. Today people cannot make ends meet, families are failing to feed, children are not going to school. people here cannot access basic health care. People are dying in their homes and the situation is very dire,” he said.
In contrast, Mugabe, who was elbowed out of power by the military in a bloodless coup died aged 95 in a Singaporean Hospital where he was receiving the best of treatments.