National hero Msipa dies (updated)
Tendai Mugabe in HARARE and Patrick Chitumba in GWERU—
Former Midlands governor and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Cephas Msipa, who died at Westend Hospital in Harare yesterday, has been declared a national hero. He was 85. Burial arrangements will be announced in due course. Acting President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the hero status at Cde Msipa’s son Charles’ Borrowdale home in Harare last night.
He said although the Midlands Province was still to write to the party making its recommendations on the hero status, a resolution had already been made in consultation with President Mugabe that he be conferred National hero status.
Cde Mnangagwa was accompanied by Zanu-PF national commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere and Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe. “Zvino patsika dzedu dzemusangano zvamanzwa, mai vedu vemusangano (political commissar) Cde Kasukuwere vachitaura, tine maitiro ezvinhu zvedu,” he said.
“Maitiro ndeekuti province yavange vakatungamira, he is the elder kuMidlands. He is our elderman kuMidlands. Ndobaba vedu veMidlands. Izvi zveusekuru neuzukuru ndezvimwe, asi kana tave kuenda kune zvematongerwo enyika, he was our shining guiding star for the Midlands Province.
“Saka pamaitiro edu ndeekuti tinoona ivo vekuMidlands vatungamiriri kuti vari kuti kudii. Tanzwa kuti pane mukomana ari kuuya (Daniel Mackenzie Ncube), hamheno kana asvika, tainzwa kuti vati kudii.
“Asi hazvichinei kuti ivo vanenge vati kudii vokuMidlands nokuti pahudhara hwedu, ikoku kupolitics dzedu isu vakuru vacho, tine zvatinofunga. Hamheno kuti vechidiki vange vachifunga kuti chii?”
Cde Mnangagwa continued: “Isu tine mafungiro edu akanaka anowirirana nekufunga kwevakuru venyika. Saka kana vakafunga nepamwe, tinoti maita henyu mange mafunga nekuti tinenge tichivapawo mukana wekufunga, asi zvinenge zvichidikanwa nevakuru ndizvo zvinoitwa. Asi, tinenge tavapawo mukana wekuti vataure zvavanenge vachida.
“Saka baba vasati vasimuka President (Mugabe) — tigere, ndofunga Cde Kasukuwere vaona tichimboti mwinyi-mwinyi sezvidhara. Ava (Cde Kasukuwere), kana vadhara votaura vanoswedera kure, (nekuti) vadhara vanenge votaura.
“Saka patange tichimwimwidzana paye, President vange vachiti ivo handingazive zvamunofunga imi kuMidlands ikoko, asi hazvinei, Cde Msipa has worked for this country, has served this country, has served our party and all political organisations in this country, which have fought for the liberation of this country. He has participated in them. Up to his last breath, he still spoke about our Independence, about our freedom and dignity.
“Saka hamheno zvamunofunga imi, vave kutendeka ini, tadaiwo kudivi rimwechete, asi ini ndichange ndaenda. Kana mazoita zvamunenge muchifunga zvangu ndezvekuti tivakudze at national level vaende apa (National Heroes Acre). Ndoshoko rasiiwa rataurwa naPresident vomusangano, naPresident venyika,’’ Cde Mnangagwa said to applause and ululation from the mourners.
“Zvino handizivi vanhu, VaKasukuwere ndiye mai vemusangano kuti vanofungei, but isu zvatafunga kuti muzvibvise ha-a, makamira pai? Saka motoronga saizvozvo Commissar. Ndoshoko riripo iri! Hongu, tichatambira zvichauya, asi iri ndiro shoko rataurwa naPresident.”
Cde Mnangagwa said Cde Msipa’s credentials as a national hero were not questionable. He said Cde Msipa was an outspoken politician who dedicated his entire life to serve his country. Cde Mnangagwa said the departed hero was also a teacher just like President Mugabe and at one point he was the president of the Rhodesian Teachers Union.
As president, Cde Mnangagwa said, Cde Msipa was always in trouble with authorities who accused him of dabbling in politics. He said Cde Msipa was arrested several times by the Smith regime for his political activities.
In a short brief, Cde Kasukuwere who stood in for Cde Ignatius Chombo who is the Zanu-PF secretary for administration said, the party would not accept anything from the province different from what the party had declared.
“Anyone who writes anything different from what the elders have said will be indiscipline,” he said.Cde Msipa’s son Charles said his father had hypertension problems and in 2010 he suffered a stroke and recovered miraculously.
“In the last five years he had chest infections particularly during the winter (season),” he said. “Since our mother passed away three years ago, it was difficult for us to look after him in Gweru when we are here in Harare, but more recently, he was back in hospital due to chest infection.”
He said doctors last week had indicated that they had managed to arrest the chest infection, but over the weekend, doctors called to inform them that his condition had deteriorated.
“Today (yesterday), the doctors called us in the morning around 4am, and informed us that baba vatisiya,” he said.Cde Msipa was born in Zvishavane on 7 July 1931.He attended Siboza School and Dadaya Mission.In the 1950s, he trained as a teacher and taught at various schools and also became a headmaster.
He met Dr Joshua Nkomo in 1955 and started working for the African National Congress in 1957 by organising meetings for the movement while also working as an active member of the Rhodesian Africa Teachers Association.
Cde Msipa was elected to the Amaveni African Advisory Board in Kwekwe and he chaired it in 1957 and 1958. From 1960 and 1964, he became a colleague to President Mugabe who was also a teacher and was suspended from teaching for his active role in politics, before he was eventually banned from partaking in the profession in 1964.
He was detained at Gonakudzingwa and Harare prisons, but escaped in 1966. Cde Msipa completed a degree in Public Administration with UNISA while in detention. He also did a three year course in public relations with the London Institute of Public Relations. After his release, Cde Msipa worked for companies such as Lobels where he was sacked for visiting Malawi as guest of President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
In 1975 he was elected ZAPU National Secretary for Education and was a member of the party’s central committee. Working with the late Mr Herbert Munangatire, they formed a newspaper called Zimbabwe Times where he was the assistant editor and then editor of the paper between 1975 to 79. Cde Msipa was detained at Wha Wha prison in 1978, while the newspaper was banned. He remained in detention until 1979 and participated in the Lancaster House talks that ended the war, and led to the first democratic elections.
After Independence, between 1980 and 1982, Cde Msipa served in Government as Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and Recreation and Deputy Minister of Manpower Planning. In 1982, he was appointed Minister of Water Resources and Development and in 1984 he was appointed Zapu Secretary General.Between 1985 and 1995, Cde Msipa was deputy chairman of the Agricultural Marketing Authority before becoming chairman of the organisation.
He was also appointed vice chairman then chairman of the Natural Resources Board and was the first chairman of ZimTrade.Between 1995 and 2000, he was appointed Minister of State for State Enterprises and Indigenisation before his appointment as Midlands Governor in 2000.
In 2002, Cde Msipa was appointed patron of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees and in 2005, he became Midlands Governor for the third term until he retired in 2008.Cde Msipa is survived by eight children and several grandchildren.