UPDATES: Elita Chikwati and Simiso Mlevu; PHOTOGRAPHY: Wilson Kakurira; PICTURE EDITOR: Joseph Murisi; EDITOR: Costa Mano
1342: The National Anthem is now being sung marking the conclusion of proceedings here. Thank you for joining us.
1332: President Mugabe is now leading the laying of wreaths.
1308: Dr Made has thanked President Mugabe for his comforting address and has invited him to take Gogo Msika to her final resting place.
1301: President Mugabe says Gogo Msika must go and tell Joseph that he is still in charge.
“To those who are scheming to effect regime change, they will not succeed. Chigaro ichi hachisi chekubvuta,” he says in conclusion.
1249: President Mugabe has told the mourners that the economy is on a rebound thanks to command agriculture, presidential inputs scheme and good rains. He thanks God for his mercy and requests Bishop Gandiya and other church leaders to continue praying for the nation.
There are those who tamper with our currency to trigger inflation. Those people are among us. Like Jesus said, that those we eat with are the ones who will sell us out. The Judas Iscariots of our times. Lets us pluck them off
“Some of them want to use the confusion to effect regime change. Zvino chigaro ichi handina kuita chekubvuta. Ndakapihwa nevanhu. Saka handidi nacho. Chigaro ichi ndechenyu. Nanhasi ndakati zete pachiri,” President Mugabe says amid hands of applause and cheers from mourners.
1240: President Mugabe says although Cde Msika went to war as a Zapu member and him as a Zanu member, the two parties later united. That unity was grounded on the principle that we are one people.
“We are all Zimbabweans. Although we might have different cultures but we are a people together. He says in Gogo Msika, Zimbabwe has lost a rare breed of a woman who sacrificed a lot for this country to be liberated. To the Msika family, let me say your loss is our loss together. Take comfort in that God allowed her to make some accomplishment for the family and the nation,”
President Mugabe has taken the opportunity to convey condolences on behalf of the nation, the party and his family adding that the greatest accolade that has been learnt is fearlessness.
1231: According to President Mugabe, Gogo Msika was a woman of the people and in most instances, she would send an SOS for food shortly after Government had replenished her pantry.
“At some point, the Chief Secretary to the President asked how come you need more food when we just bought food stuffs and she quipped, my grandchildren and relatives have exhausted it all,” he says adding that such a woman she was, her home was always full of people because she was so hospitable.
1227: President Mugabe says he knew Cde Msika when they were still young boys.
“He was in Bulawayo and I was also in the city teaching at Hope Fountain. We would go with Joseph to watch soccer especially when Highlanders played Mashonaland United (also known as Zimbabwe Saints). We went there to support Mashonaland United. That is the team Joseph supported,” Pres Mugabe said.
1222: “If you come to my place and claim it’s yours, I will fight you. In the same vein, this is what the likes of Joseph Msika resisted. And Gogo Maria too fought along with her husband. She was there to support her man throughout the liberation struggle. Msika’s history is her history too.”
1219: President Mugabe tells mourners that whites came to Zimbabwe and wanted to make it theirs oblivious of the fact that what is not yours will never be yours no matter how much you fight for it.
1216: “This is what we are taught by the bible. But we also know it from life as well that men and women die. We know that one day our lives shall come to an end. However, in our minds, we do not want to admit it that it’s the reality of life.”
1210: He thanks Bishop Gandiya for the word from 2nd Corinthians which implores people not to fear death but to know that human flesh is not immortal.
1209: President Mugabe takes to the podium and starts with salutations recognising the presence of various dignitaries within the file and ranks of Government.
1207: Dr Made has now invited President Mugabe to address mourners.
1158: According to Maxwel, in 1977, the Msika home in Pelandaba was petrol bombed and Gogo Msika survived the attack.
“Gogo Msika was a mother, not just to us. But to a host of young children who thronged our home to look for help on various things.”
Mr Msika who is speaking from a wheel chair says his mother passed on five days after he suffered a fractured hip bone as a result of a freak fall.
1156: Mr Msika says his mother was harassed and detained at various stations in Bulawayo as way of trying to force the late VP to come out of hiding for his family. When Cde Msika was subsequently incarcerated at Gonakudzingwa, Gogo Msika struggled to fend for the family and she did well in that regard managing to send all her children to University.
1154: “As was the tradition then, after marriage, my mother went to our rural home, in Chiweshe to till the land. Because of her light complexion, people in the village thought Joseph had married a white woman.”
1152: Mr Msika narrates the history of his mother from her birth in Botswana up to the time she married Joseph.
1150: Dr Made has invited Mr Maxwel Msika, the Msika family representative to address the mourners.
1144: Director of Ceremony, Dr Joseph Made who is standing in for Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Ignatius Chombo who is in Mozambique on party business has invited Bishop Chad Gandiya to give today’s reading.
Bishop Gandiya tells mourners that death is not the end because for believers, there is hope for resurrection when Jesus comes.
“Gogo Maria, you have finished your race. Thank you. Till we meet again,” says Bishop Gandiya.
1135: Mourners have braved the scorching sun to come and give a befitting send off to Gogo Maria, the woman provided companionship, moral support and courage to the late VP Joseph Msika.
1128: The body of Gogo Msika has arrived accompanied by President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe and the casket will now be laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before burial.
1124: Service Chiefs and VP Mphoko have arrived at the national shrine.
1122: Because of the support she gave her husband, she became a target of the colonial administration which continously harrassed her while her dear Joseph was languishing in prison. At some point, the couple lost their son, Gonakudzingwa when he was two months old due to ill treatment the family got at the hands of the colonialists.
1119: Born on 17 May in 1928 in Bechuanaland now Botswana, Gogo Msika was the eldest in a family of six. She did her primary education at Tsesebe before heading to Gaborone to do her secondary education at St Joseph Khale Catholic school. Gogo Msika then relocated to Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia and enrolled at Usher Institute in Matabeleland South to train as a nurse.
It is at Usher Institute that the late Maria met her love, the late Joseph Wilfred who was a wood work teacher at the same institute. At the time of their marriage, the late VP had already become active in nationalist politics. Gogo Msika supported her husband despite the risks involved.
1103: The funeral procession is now heading to the National Heroes Acre.
1020: President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe have arrived. The President will now lead the body viewing ceremony.
0946: Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has arrived.
0941: The service chiefs have arrived at Stodart Hall
0927: Thousands of people are gathered at the National Heroes Acre to bid farewell to Gogo Maria Msika, the widow of the late Vice President Joseph Msika. Gogo Maria Msika contributed immensely to the liberation struggle and championed women emancipation in Zimbabwe. She died last Friday at her Highlands home in Harare at the age of 89.
Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners are also gathered at Stodart Hall in Mbare to pay their last respects. Senior Government officials already here include Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Christopher Mushowhe, Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeremayi and War Veterans Minister Tshinga Dube.