KATIMA MULILO - As condolences continue to pour in, the Swapo Party regional leadership has described the late councillor, Felix Mukupi, as the very embodiment of generosity for his assistance to many destitute people in the Caprivi Region and beyond.
The Swapo Party says the deceased politician’s legacy will continue to live on. Swapo Party Regional Coordinator in the Caprivi Region, Linus Mafale, said Mukupi was a fearless leader who helped the party to build a strong membership base, particularly in the Sibbinda Constituency.
“I consider him a hero. A man who did not want division and who mobilised many people to join Swapo in the Sibbinda Constituency. I remember when Sibbinda was taken by the RDP, he fought hard to return both the constituency and the people to Swapo,” said Mafale.
Mafale however declined to comment on who would succeed the late Mukupi as councillor and as mobiliser of the party, a position in which he was re-elected on the same day of the fatal accident. Mafale says it is too early to make any pronouncements on the matter of succession.
“We are still undecided regarding what will happen to the positions he has left behind. Procedurally, there will be an extra-ordinary meeting where such decisions will be taken,” said Mafale.
Coordinator for the Swapo Party’s Women’s Council, Alfonsina Simasiku, also paid tribute to the late Mukupi.
“When he joined the Swapo Party, he participated in many activities and he gave generous donations to the party. He used much of his time to urge people to join the party. He was a strong man, whose life in the party and in general will be sorely missed,” said the heart-broken Simasiku.
Postrick Kasungo who is related to Mukupi described him as a straightforward person whose wisdom will be missed by both his family and friends.
“He was a straightforward man. Someone who used to speak his mind and a man of the people,” said a grief-stricken Kasungo.
Mukupi and 16-year-old Betty Sitwala Sitwala died in a car accident at a T-Junction close to Kalumba on the outskirts of Katima Mulilo on Saturday evening.
Four other passengers in the vehicle survived the horrific accident. They are Mukupi Nakwezi (15), Kasungo Berio (26), Njahi Silaula (15) and Komokiso Masilingi (19).
A sensitive picture showing Mukupi’s lifeless body bundled into a police van in one local daily has sparked outrage and it was roundly condemned as “tasteless” and “insensitive.”
The picture shows Mukupi’s lifeless body and that of sixteen-year-old Betty Sitwala Sitwala at the back of a police van that transported their two bodies to the mortuary.
The local police, however, denied supplying such a photograph, saying that their investigating team only went to the scene to take pictures the next day after the accident had happened as part of their investigation.
“We don’t have cameras as traffic officers. Our scene-of-crime investigating team only went to the accident scene in the morning after the accident. The only people who were authorized to take photographs during the accident was the NBC,” said Paul Sililo of the Traffic Department who was present at the scene. Apart from being the Sibbinda Constituency councillor, Felix Mukupi was a prominent indigenous businessman in Caprivi who owned a multi-million dollar security firm among other businesses.
Social media such as Facebook were also abuzz with messages of condolence and postings about his life in general and what Mukupi had contributed to the Caprivi Region in general.
Mukupi leaves behind eight children, four boys and three girls. According to Kasungo, a memorial service is likely to take place on Friday in the L.A. Hall in Katima Mulilo and the funeral service on Saturday at his home village of Milestone in the Kaliyangile area, 40 kilometers west of Katima Mulilo.