KWEKWE– ZANU PF youths from Kwekwe reportedly besieged- and have subsequently defied orders to vacate- the council-owned Mbizo Constituency office, blocking moves by opposition MDC Alliance MP Settlement Chikwinya to use the office for parliamentary business.
Chikwinya told midlandsnews in an interview this week that the youths, with the blessings of a one Never, took advantage of the Mbizo MP’s three-week imprisonment in January this year and illegally set base at the constituency office where illicit activities are allegedly being conducted.
Together with Redcliff legislator Lloyd Mukapiko, Chikwinya spent close to a month in remand prison in a matter they were jointly accused of inciting public violence. They were recently acquitted of the charges they were facing.
“What actually happened is that I was given that office upon assumption of being an MP”, Chikwinya told this publication.
“In fact that has always been the parliamentary office, as given by the city council. So, in 2008, I was the first to request for it, I got it and then I was using it”, he said.
Chikwinya also added that he continued to use the constituency office when he was re-elected in 2013 until the MDC-T recalled him and other opposition parliamentarians, a year later, for defecting to Tendai Biti’s now defunct renegade breakaway People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The by-elections that ensued saw ZANU PF’s Vongaishe Mupereri romping to victory and subsequently assuming the reins at the Mbizo Constituency office.
“In 2018 when I went back to parliament, Mupereri collected his belongings from the office and then, I reoccupied it. So, trouble started when I was imprisoned in January; the ZANU PF youths took over that office. When I came back (from remand), I wanted to take back my office and it created tensions that could possibly result in violence”.
“I decided to back off in the face of my strict bail conditions to avoid getting rearrested. Yet, at the same time I had also applied for funding from parliament to acquire finances for the procurement of office furniture and we are still waiting for that disbursement from parliament”.
Chikwinya also revealed that the constituency office has now become a hub of commercial sex work ‘with condoms strewn all over the place’, adding that drug dealing activities have now become rampant at the place. The Mbizo legislator, however, contended that he intends to reoccupy the constituency office as soon as parliament avails funds to procure office furniture.
Whilst Zanu PF provincial spokesperson Cornelius Mupereri could not be immediately reached during the time of writing, the party’s provincial secretary for Education, Tapiwa Muto, dismissed Chikwinya’s claims.
“This is a lie. That place is traditionally used for projects by the youths where they engage in income generating projects like gardening, brick-moulding and selling firewood. There is no base, whatsoever; the place benefits youths from Mbizo constituency”, Muto said.