Msipa unites Zim politicians in death
“He spent several years of his life in detention as the racist settler regime of Ian Douglas Smith heavily descended on the political activities of revolutionary icons in the mould of Joshua Nkomo, George Nyandoro, Edison Zvobgo, Josiah Chinamano and many others.
“After Zimbabwe attained independence in 1980, the late Mr Msipa served the new government in several capacities the last of which was as Governor of the Midlands Province. He was a candid, fearless and straight-talking nationalist who was always ready to denounce such evils like tribalism, racism corruption and sexism.”
Cde Msipa met former nationalist 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 RATA which was vocal against suppression of black interests, while advocating for teachers’ rights. He was elected to the Amaveni African Advisory Board in Kwekwe and he was its chairman in 1957 and 1958.
From 1960-1964 he became a colleague to President Mugabe who was also a teacher. He was suspended from teaching for his active role in politics before he was eventually banned from partaking in the profession in 1964 for defying orders not to take part in political activities.
Cde Msipa was detained at Gonakudzingwa and Harare prisons but escaped in 1966 as a way of challenging Smith’s November 11, 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence.
Between 1966 and 1970 Cde Msipa was branded a terrorist by the settler regime and put on the wanted list. He worked at Cold Comfort Farm, disguised as a farm labourer in the company of Didymus Mutasa and Arthur Guy Clutton-Brock. When Mr Clutton-Brock was deported to the United Kingdom for ‘housing terrorists,’ Cde Msipa went into hiding for 10 weeks. He was eventually captured and sent to prison from 1966-1970 for fighting against the Rhodesian regime. 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.
From 1971 to 1978 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. At David Whitehead he was sacked for continuing to support “terrorists”. He played an invaluable role in supplying logistical information, medicines and other necessities for leaders of the liberation struggle
He was a founder member of African National Council with Cdes Josiah Chinamano, Michael Mawema, Edison Sithole and Edison Zvobgo.
In 1975, he was elected Zapu national secretary for education and was a member of the party’s Central Committee. He was instrumental in facilitating the education of many leaders in the liberation struggle within and outside the country in his role as secretary for education for Zapu.
Working with Mr Hebert Munangatire, they formed a newspaper called Zimbabwe Times where he was the assistant editor and then editor of the paper between 197578.
He was detained at Whawha in 1978, while the newspaper was banned. He remained in detention until 1979 when he participated in the Lancaster House talks.
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.
In 1984, he was appointed Zapu secretary general but later resigned from government and Zapu and all active politics to go into what he termed “self-imposed political neutrality.”
Between 1985 and 1995, Cde Msipa was appointed deputy chairman of the Agricultural Marketing Authority before becoming chairman of the organisation.
AMA was an umbrella body of the Grain Marketing Board, Cotton Marketing Board, Dairy Marketing Board and Cold Storage Commission.
He was also appointed vice chairman then chairman of the Natural Resources Board, also appointed first chairman of ZimTrade
In the private sector, Cde Msipa was appointed nonexecutive director of a number of companies such as Triangle Sugar Estate, Cairns Holdings, Blue Ribbon, Johnson and Johnson, Kodak, Bikita Minerals, NMB Bank, and others.
“When he returned to politics he was involved in the unity agreement between Zanu-PF and PF Zapu which culminated in the Unity Accord of 1987 before he was appointed Midlands Governor between 1990 and 1994,” reads his biography.
Between 1995 and 2000, he was appointed Minister of State for State Enterprises and Indigenisation before he was reappointed Midlands Governor. In 2002, he was appointed patron of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees.
In 2005, he became Midlands Governor for a third term before he retired in 2008.
In the year 2009, he established the C.G. Msipa Scholarship Trust to provide all form of assistance to underprivileged but intellectually gifted students.
He was a patron of HelpAge Zimbabwe, Mudavanhu School for the mentally challenged and life member of Jairos Jiri Association Zvishavane Branch
In December 1979, Cde Msipa survived an assassination attempt after a bullet was fired through his bedroom window narrowly missing his late wife Charlotte.
After the assassination attempt, Cde Msipa received a phone call and a white man on the other end of the line asked him if he remembered the downing of the Viscount plane shot down by Zipra guerrillas.
Mourners are gathered at his house in Kopje, Gweru, while others are gathered at his son’s house in Borrowdale, Harare.
Mr Winos Dube