Zvamaida Murwira and Felex Share
The widow of national hero and Vice President Cde Joseph Msika, Maria, has died.
She was 89.
Mbuya Msika died at her Highlands, Harare, residence yesterday morning.
Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the residence last night to pay his condolences.
He was accompanied by Cabinet ministers, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, his deputy Dr Ray Ndhlukula, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga, Air Force Commander Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, Commissioner-General of Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi and Deputy Director General in the President’s Office Mr Aaron Daniel Nhepera, among other senior Government officials.
Addressing mourners, Acting President Mnangagwa said they had since submitted a detailed report to President Mugabe who is in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly.
“We have prepared a report to the President and we are expecting a response soon, possibly tomorrow. The President now knows what has happened here,” he said.
“Let us be united while we wait to hear from the Government on the way forward. We will be together during this time of bereavement and we have asked the Office of the President and Cabinet to continue to be with you. We need as Government to be united with you during this period,” said Acting President Mnangagwa.
He said Mbuya Msika looked after several people during and after the liberation struggle.
She remained with the family while her husband was incarcerated by the Rhodesian regime.
Family spokesman Mr Jonathan Mapfumo said Mbuya Msika had not been well for the past six years.
He said she had been feeding through a catheter and breathing with the aid machines.
“She has been in and out of hospital until this morning when the Lord decided to promote her at around 0600,” said Mr Mapfumo, who is a nephew.
In an interview earlier in the day, Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo described Mbuya Msika as a dauntless mother figure.
He said Gogo Msika fended for the family while VP Msika languished in prison during the liberation struggle.
“The passing on of Gogo Maria Msika early this morning is a tragedy not only to the family but to Zanu-PF and the nation at large,” said Cde Moyo.
“She gave tremendous support to her late husband Vice President Joseph Msika while he was languishing in various prisons, detention and restriction centres across the country during the liberation struggle. She fended for the family on her own for many years with tremendous determination until freedom day.”
He added: “She was a mother figure of great humility, courageous, a down-to-earth, kind hearted personality and was solid in all her deeds. Such people never die but depart for higher responsibility. The nation is poorer without her. Her pleasant deeds however live forever. She has left a rich legacy of service, dedication, commitment and patriotism to all of us and generations to come. May her soul anchor and rest in eternal peace.”
Mbuya Msika is survived by three children, Lucia, Shelton and Maxwell, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Cabinet Ministers who consoled the family at the residence included Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe and Cde Khaya Moyo.
Mourners are gathered at Number 11 Nigel Lane, Highlands, Harare.