‘True pa­triot’s’ death unites Zim­babwe’s politi­cians

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nduduzo Tshuma / Pa­trick Chi­tumba

FOR­MER Zanu-PF Polit­buro mem­ber, Mid­lands Gover­nor and Res­i­dent Min­is­ter, Cde Cephas Ge­orge Msipa has died. He was 85. Cde Msipa died at the West End Hos­pi­tal in Harare around 4AM yes­ter­day. His son, Mr Dou­glas Msipa con­firmed the pass­ing on of the lib­er­a­tion war hero, hav­ing lost a bat­tle to a chest in­fec­tion.

“Yes it’s true that my fa­ther has passed on. He was ad­mit­ted to a pri­vate hos­pi­tal in Harare for a week. We re­ceived the news this morn­ing (yes­ter­day),” said Mr Msipa.

“He was suf­fer­ing from a chest in­fec­tion which made him cough ex­ces­sively. His health de­te­ri­o­rated dur­ing the week­end when he was strug­gling with breath­ing.”

Lead­ers across the po­lit­i­cal divide yes­ter­day de­scribed Cde Msipa as a true pa­triot who tire­lessly served his peo­ple up to the time of his death.

The for­mer PF Zapu sec­re­tary gen­eral, who was ap­pointed into the Zanu-PF Cen­tral Com­mit­tee after the 1987 Unity Ac­cord be­tween PF Zapu and Zanu and rose to the Polit­buro, was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal com­plain­ing of chest pains which de­vel­oped to pneu­mo­nia.

Zanu-PF na­tional po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar Cde Sav­ior Ka­sukuwere said the party shares with Cde Msipa’s fam­ily the pain of los­ing the sea­soned politi­cian.

“We’ve lost a true pa­triot and a fa­ther fig­ure in the party where he worked very hard in all his de­ploy­ments. It’s a sad loss the party shares with his fam­ily,” he said.

The Zanu-PF Women’s League said it was sad­dened by the death of Cde Msipa whom the struc­ture said up­held the val­ues of the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle un­til the time of his death.

“We’re sad­dened and re­gret Cde Msipa’s FOR­MER Mid­lands gover­nor and Zanu-PF Polit­buro mem­ber, Cde Cephas Msipa, who died at West End Hos­pi­tal in Harare yes­ter­day, has been de­clared a na­tional hero.

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 last night.

He said although the Mid­lands prov­ince was yet to write to the party mak­ing its rec­om­men­da­tions on the hero sta­tus, a res­o­lu­tion was al­ready made in con­sul­ta­tion with Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe that he be con­ferred na­tional hero sta­tus.

Cde Mnan­gagwa was ac­com­pa­nied by the Zanu-PF na­tional com­mis­sar Cde Saviour Ka­sukuwere and In­for­ma­tion, Me­dia and Broad­cast­ing Ser­vices Min­is­ter Dr Christo­pher Mushohwe.

“In Zanu-PF we’ve a way of han­dling such is­sues. You heard the po­lit­i­cal com­mis­sar Cde Ka­sukuwere speak­ing on the pro­ce­dures to be taken. He was the elder in Mid­lands. He’s our el­der­man in Mid­lands. He was our fa­ther fig­ure in the Mid­lands. He was our shin­ing guid­ing star for the Mid­lands prov­ince.

“The pro­ce­dure is we would want to hear what the Mid­lands lead­er­ship thinks. Cde Daniel un­timely death. We will al­ways cher­ish his con­tri­bu­tion to the lib­er­a­tion of this Macken­zie Ncube was sup­posed to be here for him to tell us what the prov­ince thinks. How­ever, the na­tional lead­er­ship has taken a de­ci­sion. Be­fore the Pres­i­dent flew out of the coun­try we held a meet­ing. The Pres­i­dent said he wasn’t sure what the Mid­lands’ rec­om­men­da­tion was but said 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. We de­cided to ac­cord him the hon­our of burial at the Na­tional He­roes Acre. That is the word that the Pres­i­dent of the party and Pres­i­dent of the coun­try left.”

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’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

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. coun­try,” said the leagues’ sec­re­tary for in­for­ma­tion and pub­lic­ity, Cde Thokozile Mathuthu.

Zanu-PF Mid­lands prov­ince de­scribed Cde Msipa as a great leader, a guide and a foun­tain of knowl­edge.

Zanu-PF Mid­lands pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary for in­for­ma­tion and pub­lic­ity, Cde Cor­nelius Mpereri, said the prov­ince was, “of a firm view that Cde Msipa should be ac­corded na­tional hero sta­tus due to the self­less ser­vice he ren­dered to the na­tion, be­fore, dur­ing and after the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

“His quest for na­tional unity was man­i­fested when he was pres­i­dent of Rhode­sia Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (RATA) for years dur­ing the colo­nial era. It was again clearly shown in PF-Zapu be­fore and after In­de­pen­dence where he rose through the ranks to the po­si­tion of sec­re­tary gen­eral.”

For­mer PF Zapu na­tional chair­man and Zanu-PF Polit­buro mem­ber, Cde Nai­son Khutshwekhaya Ndlovu said, in Cde Msipa, he had lost a per­sonal friend with whom he worked very well from their days in PF Zapu dur­ing the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle.

“It’s so sad be­cause he was one of the few re­main­ing age mates of mine. We would con­tact each other and dis­cuss a num­ber of is­sues. He was more of a friend to me and we worked very well from PF Zapu to Zanu-PF,” he said.

“Cde Msipa was al­ways that per­son who was not afraid to speak his mind. He was a prin­ci­pled man and re­mained that kind of per­son un­til his death.”

In his con­do­lence mes­sage, MDC leader, Pro­fes­sor Welsh­man Ncube said Cde Msipa stood for fair­ness and jus­tice.

MDC-T spokesper­son Mr Obert Gutu said, Cde Msipa, “be­longed to that rare breed of ded­i­cated, self­less and iconic politi­cians and na­tion­al­ists who ded­i­cated their en­tire lives to en­sure that Zim­babwe gained in­de­pen­dence from colo­nial rule in April, 1980.

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 he had died,” he said.

Cde Msipa was born in Zvisha­vane on 7 July 1931. He at­tended Si­boza School and Da­daya Mis­sion.

The Giga’s Whole­sale out­let in Bu­l­awayo

The late Cephas Msipa

Act­ing Pres­i­dent Cde Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa

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