Friday, August 07, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Vice-President Joseph Msika Dies; President Mugabe Says Nation Has Lost Man of Stature

VP Msika dies

By Sydney Kawadza

Vice President Joseph Wilfred Msika has died.

He was 85.

Cde Msika, who was also Zanu-PF’s Second Secretary, died at West End Hospital in Harare yesterday morning.

The Zanu-PF Politburo immediately sat at the party’s headquarters in the capital and unanimously conferred Cde Msika with national hero status.

He will be buried at the National Heroes Acre on Monday, coincidentally the day the nation commemorates Heroes Day.

Addressing mourners at Cde Msika’s house in Mandara, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa said: "The Politburo met today (yesterday) and agreed that there won’t be any discussion on his status. We have agreed that he be accorded hero status and be buried at the National Heroes Acre."

Cde Mutasa said more information would be made available after a meeting between the family and officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Msika family also requested that VP Msika’s body be taken to Bulawayo where he cut his political teeth for farewell.

The body will also be taken to his rural home in Chiweshe.

The late Vice President was born on December 6, 1923, in Chiweshe communal lands in Mazowe District and attended Howard and Mt Selinda institutes where he trained as a carpentry teacher.

He later joined Usher Institute as a teacher and while there, he began to actively participate in nationalist politics.

In his quest for the country’s freedom, Cde Msika worked with other nationalists such as the late Cde Masotsha Ndlovu and Cde Benjamin Burombo.

Around 1944-45 he joined the Rhodesia Textile and Allied Workers’ Union.

It was during this period that he met fellow hero of the struggle, Father Zimbabwe, the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

In 1957, Cde Msika was elected national treasurer of the newly-formed African National Congress, and after it was banned he was made secretary for youth in its successor, Zapu.

He became a member of the National Democratic Party in 1961 and was elected a councillor.

His political activities saw the racist Rhodesian regime detaining him at Khami Maximum Security, Selukwe and Marandellas prisons between 1959 and 1961.

It was during this time that he met President Mugabe, who had just returned from his teaching job in Ghana and was visiting nationalists who had been arrested by the oppressive settler regime.

In 1963, Cde Msika was elected Zapu secretary for youth affairs before becoming secretary for external affairs of the People’s Caretaker Party after the NDP was banned.

He was arrested and detained at Gonakudzingwa in 1964, where he spent four years, before being transferred to Camp 5 from 1967 to 1974.

On his release, he flew to Zambia with other nationalist stalwarts to meet Frontline Heads of State and Government before taking part in a series of summits and meetings leading to the 1979 ceasefire.

He served as an African National Council central committee member before becoming Zapu secretary between 1976 and 1984.

The late hero was a delegate at the Lancaster House Conference in London in 1979.

At Independence Cde Msika was elected a Senator and appointed Minister of Natural Resources and Water Development up to 1982.

He served as Zapu vice president from 1984 to 1987.

Cde Msika was elected Member of Parliament for Pelandaba in 1985 and appointed Minister of Public Construction and National Housing.

In 1987 he was among the Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu leaders who signed the December 22 Unity Accord.

Cde Msika was appointed Senior Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development in the President’s Office in 1988; a post he held until 1995.

Thereafter, he served as Minister without Portfolio and Zanu-PF national chairman.

President Mugabe later appointed Cde Msika to chair the Land Acquisition Committee.

Following the death of Vice President Nkomo on July 1, 1999, Cde Msika was elevated to Vice President and sworn into office on December 23 of that year.

Cde Msika did not take part in the 2000 and 2005 elections and was appointed a Member of the House of Assembly before being appointed to the Senate in August last year.

On October 13 last year, he was sworn in as Vice President in the inclusive Government along with Cde Joice Mujuru.

He is survived by his wife Amai Maria and three children.

We have lost a man of high stature: President

Herald Reporter

President Mugabe has described Vice President Joseph Msika as a man of high stature and a giant of great works whose legacy to defend Zimbabwe’s heritage should not be betrayed.

Cde Mugabe said VP Msika was a founding member of the long journey of the struggle, which saw the birth of an independent Zimbabwe, the restoration of dignity among black Zimba-bweans and the emancipation of Zimbabwe’s heritage.

The President said Cde Msika was one of the "greatest nationalists" Zimbabwe had seen and whose legacy of defending the country’s heritage should not be betrayed.

Announcing Cde Msika’s death to Zanu-PF’s Politburo in Harare, President Mugabe said he died yesterday with members of his family at his hospital bed.

"The doctors phoned me yesterday then I visited him in hospital and I found that the situation was desperate," he said.

President Mugabe said the doctors had told him that Cde Msika’s liver and kidneys had stopped functioning and he was on life support system.

"We agreed that he should be kept on the life support machine. I got a report this morning that Cde Msika’s relatives were at his bedside and the doctors were going to disengage the life support equipment to see if the patient would be able to live without the machine.

"I got another phone call after 30 minutes saying President Msika was gone. He is gone. One of the greatest among us is gone," he announced.

In his message of condolences, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said he had learnt with a very deep sense of sorrow about Cde Msika’s death.

"A hypertension patient, the late Vice President had been unwell for quite some time, often seeking specialised medical attention both inside the country and beyond our borders, including in South Africa.

"But his strong sense of public duty and commitment to fulfilling chores of State did much to hide from common view (his) health condition which was failing progressively."

President Mugabe said VP Msika together with the likes of late nationalists George Nyandoro, James Chikerema, Maurice Nyagumbo and Daniel Madzimbamuto stood out as part of a generation of "fearless founder nationalists to taste arrest and incarceration under the notorious Federal Preventive Detention Laws of February 1959" following the banning of the African National Congress.

He said the Vice President had joined trade union politics in Bulawayo in 1956, a precursor to nationalist politics under the banner of the African National Congress that was launched in 1957 under the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

"The years that followed, particularly with bolder nationalist politics under NDP and Zapu, were years of greater pain and denial for him, as indeed they were for many other nationalists who endured repeated and often uninterrupted imprisonment at places such as Khami, Selukwe and Marandellas, on account of their commitment to the freedom struggle.

"In fact, after the banning of Zapu in 1961, Vice President Msika knew no other life other than that of incarceration until his release in 1974 for the ill-fated Victoria Falls Conference.

"That way, the better part of his life wasted away behind grim walls and fences of colonial prisons and detention centres, all on the orders of white settlers.

"But always emerging unbowed and unbroken by these long spells of calculated pressure and privation, the late Cde Joseph Msika still went into exile to join and contribute to the armed phase of the struggle, again enduring untold hardships and clear danger."

President Mugabe said the country celebrates a "life totally spent in and shaped and enriched by struggle, a life dedicated to serving his people and his country in numerous enduring ways".

"Beyond the struggle for our political independence, who will ever forget Cde Msika’s role and contribution to the search for broader national unity, both before and after independence?

"Who will ever forget his commitment to empowering our people through definitive land reforms? I, personally, will miss him in a very direct way.

"On behalf of the party Zanu-PF, the inclusive Government, my dear wife and on my own behalf, I wish to convey deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Msika family, especially Amai Msika who is herself unwell, to the children and to the grandchildren who from today have to do without an outstanding father and guardian of such deep love and affection.

"Let them all derive comfort and solace from tributes sure to flow in abundance and in diverse forms from the nation he helped liberate and found," he said.

Addressing mourners at the Msikas’ Mandara residence later in the day, President Mugabe said Cde Msika’s death was a great loss to the family, Zanu-PF, Government and the nation at large.

"Nhasi izuva rekushushikana, zuva ratazunzwa mwoyo yedu. Hunde yemuti yanga yakati twi, yadonha . . . Joe! Ndizvozvandaimuita, watisiya.

"Munhu anemutumbi wakadaro, anemwoyo wakadaro, anendangariro yakadaro nebasa guru-guru ratisingagone kuvheneka pazuva ranhasi.

"Kufirwa kwataita ikoko kukuru-kuru chaizvo, kwakadzamisisa zvisingataurike. Nhasi uno mumwe wangu wandakafamba naye rwendo ari uye muvaruri.

"Ini ndakazouyawo, ndichibva kuGhana, ndoona hurongwa hwavapo ndopandakazoti tiri tose parwendo irworwu.

"Mumwe wangu iyeyu atungamira, nhasi uno ati chisarai. Nhasi uno ati ndakashanda wangu mushando chipedzisaiwo," he said.

President Mugabe said the late Vice President had left a heritage that the nation must protect.

"Nhasi ationeka. Ati, heyo Zimbabwe! Ndakawana iri Rhodesia.

"Ndakawana muzere mabhunu achivhaira zvikuru, ndakawana vatema vakadzvanyirirwa. Ndaka-wana pasina chimiro chemutema chakanaka, nhasi uno yava yedu.

"Nhasi uno ivhu rava redu, harisiri remubhunu nhasi uno hatisiri nhapwa, tavakurova matundundu tichiti tisu vene venyika.

"Hapana achatitorera nhaka yedu, hunhu hwedu. Zimbabwe yamira kuti twi," he said.

The President urged Zimbabweans to be wary of detractors who were always scheming against the country.

"Nhasi arikuti Zimbabwe yakauya neropa . . . Vanhu ngavabatane. Chengetedzai nhaka iyi muchenjerere makondo achauya.

"Muvengi achauya nenzira dzakasiyana-siyana saka ngatichenjererei nekuti muvengi haasati aneta."

He said Cde Msika would want Zimbabweans, especially the leadership, to remain committed and united to serve the interests of the people.

He said VP Msika’s legacy would live forever.

"Urwu harusi rufu, munhu akaita sa VaMsika haafi. A soldier does not die."

Nation mourns Msika

By Hebert Zharare and John Manzongo

VETERAN nationalist and one of the founding fathers of the liberation struggle Vice President Joseph Msika, affectionately known as "Bruno", has been described as a fearless man of principle and integrity.

His comrades in the liberation struggle and in Government yesterday said Cde Msika was a selfless unifier and revolutionary who demonstrated his commitment to the nation by joining nationalist politics at the tender age of 19.

Several people who worked with the gallant fighter said "no words could describe his contribution to the birth and growth of Zimbabwe as a nation".

Zanu-PF national chairman Cde John Nkomo described the late Vice President Msika as a man of strong principles and a visionary leader.

"I enjoyed his leadership and I can say I had the privilege to work with him as a young man during the trying times at Gonakudzingwa.

"We were together in Zambia during the peak of the liberation struggle, until Independence. Cde Msika played a crucial role in the 1987 Unity Agreement that saw Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu joining hands in unity for a common goal.

"He is a rare character that will be very hard to replace. He would not hesitate to tell you his decision and thoughts.

"He never pretended that things were good when they were not. He always emphasised that our strength as a nation lay in our unity.

"He was always worried about the future of Zimbabwe and the generations that would follow after him. He was frank, committed and dedicated," he said.

Deputy President of the Senate Cde Naison Ndlovu — who worked closely with the veteran nationalist for the past 50 years — said the nation had lost a great leader, a father, a visionary and a man of principle.

"I started working with Cde Msika when he was still young in 1957 during the formation of Southern Rhodesia African National Congress. Among the living nationalists, he was the most senior.

"He has worked with great revolutionaries such as the late Father Zimbabwe, Cde Joshua Nkomo in the Youth League. After it was banned, we proceeded together to form the National Democratic Party, PF-Zapu and the People’s Caretaker Council when leaders were in detention.

"After Independence he remained consistent and principled in the leadership of PF-Zapu.

"At the signing of the Unity Agreement in 1987 he was the leader of the PF-Zapu delegation that included Cde Joshua Nkomo and myself that was spearheading negotiations on behalf of the party.

"The nation has lost a father, a great man, fearless fighter of the struggle and objective leader. He was very strict when it came to principles. We respected him greatly for that.

"The youths should emulate his character — he would say out his mind no matter what effect it would cause to its recipients. He would not pretend for the sake of pleasing others," Cde Ndlovu said.

Matabeleland South Governor and Resident Minister Cde Angeline Masuku, who worked with the late Cde Msika during and after the liberation struggle, described him as a steadfast and honest leader.

"Cde Msika was a true revolutionary, a true son of the soil and a revolutionary who had no politics of appeasement. He was somebody who stood for nothing else but the truth.

"He wanted the black people to regain their dignity. He wanted the people to work for themselves and was against people he described as crybabies. He used to tell us that now that the liberation struggle is over, the new struggle is to fight poverty, disease, hunger and all this was supposed to be done by the people of Zimbabwe.

"He was a unifier and he worked very hard for the country to enjoy the peace and tranquillity that we have," she said. One of the Zipra commanders and former Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Dumiso Dabengwa said Zimbabwe had lost a great revolutionary.

Cde Dabengwa said he had lost a great colleague who he could freely confide in when the going got tough.

"I started working with him from the Youth League through the liberation struggle in Zambia when we were in the war council where I was secretary up to Independence.

"Cde Msika’s death takes away the whole catalogue of Zimbabwe’s liberation history. He was one of the last anchors of the liberation struggle.

"He would tell you straight in the face if you messed up. He was not a pretender and he really liked it when people did the same with him.

"We ended up nicknaming him Bruno (ostensibly after former British heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno) for his aggressiveness when it came to defending principles and integrity," he said.

Cde Dabengwa added: "I had great respect for him and the last time I spoke to him was at Cde Ackim Ndlovu’s burial. I could see he was in great pain.

"We discussed a lot of issues and on some things we didn’t agree but he promised he was going to take time to talk to me again.

"Zimbabwe has surely lost a true leader who will be hard to replace."

Another leader of the struggle and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Eunice Sandi described the late veteran politician as a pioneer of the liberation struggle who never faltered since the days of "Zhii"; the formation of the National Democratic Party and PF-Zapu.

She said Cde Msika worked with all the renowned liberation fighters in Zimbabwe.

"He called so many people to come and join the struggle, some of them at senior level. He was a true soldier who gave strength when the spirit was down after enemy attacks.

"He used to tell us that it was a war situation and some people would die and others would survive. So those who survived were supposed to continue with the struggle until the enemy surrendered.

"Cde Msika’s death has left President Mugabe alone as the remaining founding father of the struggle," she said.

She said Cde Msika died when the country was waging another war against neo-colonialism and other forces that were fighting hard to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.

"Those who remain are going to be judged by the ability to continue with the struggle until it is totally won," she said.

Another veteran leader who was key to the signing of the Unity Accord, Cde Nelson Mawema, said the late Cde Msika was resolute throughout the tough times of the struggle when there were splits in the revolutionary movement during the 1960s.

Cde Mawema, who was co-chairman of the Unity Accord negotiating team on the Zanu-PF side, said Cde Msika worked hard to ensure that there was a cessation of hostilities in the country and that Zimbabwe prospered.

"Truly, his departure is a great loss to the whole nation. He has left an indelible mark that will never be erased by anyone.

"These were the people who wanted to make sure that the unity of the two political parties that fought the colonialists was not disturbed by anyone. He preached unity and unity and I am sure that spirit is not going to die following his death and the people are going to take it on and on," said Cde Mawema, a Zanu PF Central Committee member.

The President of the Senate, Cde Edna Madzongwe said the country had lost "a fountain of wisdom and knowledge that could never be replaced".

"When the going got tough, we looked up to him for assistance and guidance. He knew everything . . . the liberation struggle and trade unionism. He had a rich history in the fight against the colonialists. He instilled in everyone a sense of belonging and ownership of the country," she said.

Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa said Vice President Msika would be remembered for crafting many of the solutions to the problems the country faced.

He said the Vice President had a clear vision that land was the only resource at the country’s disposal for economic turnaround.

"Cde Msika has been at the centre of the country’s birth and the consolidation of the Republic of Zimbabwe and that all the issues of the country’s sovereignty bordered around land being an ultimate resource of economic empowerment. He was willing to listen to the people’s problems.

"He believed in unity. Whatever he said, he never personalised issues . . . He had a balanced vision of where he wanted to take the country," he said.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono said he had learnt with great shock Cde Msika’s death.

"Cde Msika could not have left us at a more inopportune time as the country looked up to personalities like him to show us the way to greater unity and stabilisation.

"He helped me in shaping most of the extraordinary monetary policy measures that I implemented over the past five years. The cattle restocking programme was his brainchild.

"There are few men of principle and discipline like him, men who do not stand for one thing during the day and the opposite at night.

"If Cde Msika promised to stand by you, he did not change the next day just because somebody has promised him material things in exchange for his principled stance like we see with a growing number of leaders around," Dr Gono added.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Gorden Moyo said the nation had lost a true son of the soil whose contribution to the inclusive Government was invaluable.

"We believe that the nation has lost a hero, a father, an adviser and a voice of concern at a time when the nation needed it most. We needed his experience, we needed his voice of reason, his frankness and his honest assessment of things in the inclusive Government. His experience was needed to help the inclusive Government navigate the challenging times ahead of us.

"On behalf of the Prime Minister, we join the country and our colleagues in the inclusive Government and the Msika family in grieving him. We would also want to celebrate his life because he shall remain a book to read and to learn from as move forward. His life shall remain an experience we shall draw from as we take the country forward. May his soul respect his in internal peace," he said.

Zanu-PF deputy secretary for youth affairs Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said the nation had lost a crusader of youth empowerment who spent many precious years in the bush fighting for national sovereignty.

"He could have fended for his family like what the majority of the people were doing, but he decided otherwise. As the youths, we say we have lost a pillar of strength . . . He was always willing to listen to the people," he said.

Party member Cde Elias Musakwa described Cde Msika as a father figure who always had time for the youths and who they never hesitated to approach for guidance and assistance.

National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku said he had learnt with great sadness the passing on of the Vice President.

"Cde Msika is one of the founding leaders of our nation, the NCA cherishes the values of the liberation struggle and does not take for granted sacrifices made by Vice President Msika and his generation for the attainment of our independence," he said.

Officials from the country’s main political parties, as well as serving and retired security services officers, went to pay their condolences to the Msika family at their Mandara residence when news of the VP’s death filtered through.

Msika: The long walk to freedom

CDE Joseph Wilfred Msika was born on December 6, 1923, in the Chiweshe Reserve, Mazowe District. His father, a Shangaan, was a polygamist whose first wife bore him several daughters. Joseph was the first son born to the second wife, a Zezuru woman who, like her husband, was a staunch member of the Anglican Church.

Msika remained a practising Christian up to his death on Wednesday, August 5.

Cde Msika once said his father was well off in terms of cattle, as a small boy, he herded more than 100 at a time. It was only the most progressive farmer who, in the 1930s, understood the importance of using the disc plough and cultivator, and his father adopted these innovations.

He supplemented his income with a wagon transport business between Mazoe (now Mazowe) and Salisbury (now Harare). For the price of six eggs, Cde Msika was admitted as a day scholar to the nearby Howard Institute, a Salvation Army Mission School.

In 1937, he became a boarder and remained there until he passed Standard VI. It was his wish to become a teacher but his father sent him to Mt Selinda (run by the American Board Mission) to train as a carpenter. He made a success of his training and while at Mt Selinda, passed his Junior Certificate by correspondence.

Cde Msika, as the eldest son, was obliged to help with the payment of school fees for the younger members of the family and for this reason he took up part time work with a transport firm in Bulawayo during the holidays.

In 1951, his employer persuaded him to take up a full-time job as a cabinet-maker. He remained with the firm until 1953 when he was offered a better job with a new clothing firm from Johannesburg. When the firm got into financial difficulties, the owners arranged for Cde Msika to be transferred to Bulawayo. Here, he worked as a supervisor and then as a "leading hand".

Finally, he became the equivalent of a personnel officer, dealing with problems arising between management and staff. This led to an interest in trade unionism and shortly afterwards, he became president of the Textile and Allied Workers’ Union.

The path from trade unionism to politics was a straightforward one and it was not long before Cde Msika joined the old African National Congress, becoming chairman of the Bulawayo branch. On September 12, 1957, the ANC merged with the African National Youth League (ANYL) in the then Salisbury to form a new ANC and Cde Msika was appointed National Treasurer.

Cde Msika was heavily involved in the negotiations that gave rise to this new grouping. Six men — Cdes James Chikerema, the late Paul Mushonga and George Nyandoro from Mashonaland, and three from Matabeleland Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Francis Ndawali and Msika himself — agreed not to contest the leadership but to support the man who would come forward and take up the risky task of spearheading a demand for majority rule, hitherto never even considered in the country.Aidan Mwamuka, Stanlake Samkange, Enoch Dumbutshena and Joshua Nkomo were each invited to lead the African National Congress. Mwamuka, Dumbutshena and Samkange declined but Nkomo stated that, if it was the wish of the nation that he should come forward and lead, he would do so.

"Since then," Cde Msika once said, "he did just that. The intellectuals — Ndabaningi Sithole, Robert Mugabe and others — came after Nkomo in their decision to identify with the objective of majority rule and the struggle to achieve it."

In 1961, Cde Msika was involved in the organisation of a successful strike. This led to his dismissal from employment and he decided to set up his own business – a grocery and fish and chip shop.

He was first arrested and detained in February 1959. He was sent to Khami Maximum Security Prison where he met nationalists from Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). His reaction to a prison sentence was one of shock. His background had not prepared him for this experience but he gave profound thought to his condition and soon adjusted to his new situation.

He reflected that the struggle in the early stages of nationalism had been one to obtain justice and equal rights for Africans in a series of individual battles.

However, with independence coming rapidly to other African countries, the realisation that the real battle was for the political control of the country through a demand for "one man-one vote" began to grow among nationalist leaders in Rhodesia.

"The spirit of nationalism, long dormant since the rebellions of the previous century, was resuscitated — people have an inherent right to decide how they should be governed, and to choose their own Government," Cde Msika said.

Determined to face his sentence as "an innocent man: I had not committed any crime; my conscience was clear; I had been imprisoned for my political views" — he retained his self-respect and was able to face the realities of prison with a calm mind.

From Khami, Cde Msika was transferred to Selukwe (now Shurugwi) and then to Marandellas (now Marondera). After his release from Marandellas, he was elected Councillor for the National Democratic Party (NDP). Later, when ZAPU was formed, he became Secretary for Youth Affairs.

When the split in the movement came in July 1963, Msika was in Dar-Es-Salaam with other members of the Zapu executive. When the Rev. Ndabaningi Sithole, Moton Malianga and Leopold Takawira proposed a resolution deposing Nkomo from the leadership, Cde Msika walked out of the meeting.

In the People’s Caretaker Council (PCC), which was formed shortly afterwards and which he considers to be synonymous with Zapu, he was elected to the post of Secretary for External Affairs.

In 1964, Cde Msika was arrested in Josiah Chinamano’s house and sent to Gonakudzingwa for a period of one year. Together with Chinamano and his wife, Ruth and Joshua Nkomo, he "opened up Gonakudzingwa".

After his release in 1965, he enjoyed only two weeks of freedom in the then Salisbury before being re-arrested. He returned to Gonakudzingwa and in 1967 was sent with Joshua Nkomo and Lazarus Nkala to the remote Camp, where they spent the next three years with only wild game and each other for company.

These stringent conditions were lifted in 1970 and they were then permitted to receive regular visits from their wives and younger children. In May 1974, they were transferred to Buffalo Range where they remained until their release in December. Immediately following his release, Cde Msika accompanied Joshua Nkomo to Lusaka for talks on unity and d├ętente.

Under the Lusaka Declaration of December 1974, Cde Msika was chosen as one of the four men to represent Zapu on the Central Committee of the ANC. In August 1975, he attended the Victoria Falls talks as a member of the ANC negotiating team.

When the split occurred shortly afterwards, his loyalty to Cde Nkomo was never in doubt. He was convinced that the decision to call a special congress on September 27 and 28 was strictly in accordance with the constitution of the organisation. At the Congress, Cde Msika was elected Secretary General under the presidency of Cde Nkomo. It was announced on December 10 that he had been appointed a member of the ANC delegation to the constitutional conference convened for December 15.

Following the breakdown of the Smith-Nkomo talks in March 1976, the ANC decided to publish its own story of what occurred. In early July, Cde Msika went to London to release the publication and to answer questions at a Press conference.

He told reporters that the ANC "might consider whether there was anything to be gained by once more sitting down with Ian Smith".

"But," he was reported as saying, "it would not be negotiation — the time for that is long past. It would be to discuss only the mechanics of an immediate transfer of power to the majority".

Cde Msika was, however, at pains to point out that the ANC was not "fighting the white man". "We are," he said, "fighting a racist system".

It was announced on October 13 that Cde Joseph Msika would be a member of the ANC (Nkomo) delegation to the Geneva Conference.

Cde Msika expressed the greatest admiration for the way in which his wife, Maria, whom he married in 1946, raised their family of six children and looked after his business during his time in detention.

Cde Msika attended the Lancaster House talks in 1979, which led to Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980. After independence, he served in various ministerial portfolios — starting with the Natural Resources portfolio, he was a member of Zimbabwe’s first coalition government soon after the first elections. Cde Msika succeeded the late Vice-President Cde Joshua Nkomo as Vice-President of Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe in December 1999.

--The article above is derived mostly from the book; African Nationalist Leaders in Rhodesia — Who’s Who? by Robert Cary and Diana Mitchell.

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