Nation remembers an astute nationalist and leader 13 years on

By Oleen Ndori, International News Editor

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has led the nation in commemorating the death of a man who dedicated his life to the liberation of the country and was instrumental in the historic Unity Accord of 1987, the late former Vice President Joseph Wilfred Msika.

In a statement issued by the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, President Mnangagwa said the late Vice President is remembered for inspiring many Zimbabweans through his values of patriotism and nation-building.

He added that the Second Republic’s adage, “Nyika inovakwa ne vene vayo” resonates well with the late national hero’s work ethic and drive for Zimbabwe’s development.

The President noted that Cde Msika’s vision continues to receive impetus under the stewardship of the Second Republic’s Vision 2030.

Affectionately known as Bruno, Cde Msika is remembered for being a visionary leader and fearless founding nationalist who devotedly fought for the independence of the country.

He was born on the 6th of December 1923 in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central Province and attended Howard Institute for his primary education.

He later attained a teaching qualification at Mount Selinda Mission School where he also studied and passed the junior certificate via correspondence.

Cde Msika became involved in nationalist politics at the tender age of 19 and in 1954 he became a trade union leader at the Textile and Allied Workers Union.

It was during this period that he met and worked with other founders of early liberation movements like Cdes Masotsha Ndlovu, Benjamin Burombo, and Dr Joshua Nkomo.

He used his influence in trade unionism to launch the early African National Congress in Bulawayo before it joined the Salisbury Youths League to form the Southern Rhodesia African National Congress on the 12th of September 1957 at Mai Musonza Hall in Mbare.

Cde Msika was part of the group of nationalists that formed liberation movements that culminated in the Independence of the country in 1980.

As Vice President of the then ZAPU, the late national hero was instrumental in the talks that culminated in the signing of the watershed Unity Accord of 1987.

Cde Msika assumed the post of Vice President of the country in December 1999 after the death of the late Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo.

With the launch of the land reform programme at the turn of the millennium, Cde Msika was appointed chairperson of the Land Acquisition Committee, which spearheaded the reform programme.

He served the interests of the nation well and was in 2003 appointed patron of the Zimbabwe Football Association, taking over from the late Vice President, Dr Simon Muzenda.