NATIONAL HERO ex Midlands Governor and Zanu-PF Cephas Msipa (85), to be buried at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre



FORMER Midlands Governor and Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Cephas Msipa (85), who was declared a National Hero following his death in a Harare hospital on Monday, will be buried next to his wife at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre on Saturday.

According to his son and family spokesperson Mr Douglas Msipa, the family was acting in line with the late freedom fighter’s wishes.

Cde Msipa’s wife, Cde Charlotte Msipa, a liberation war heroine, was laid to rest at the Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre in 2013.

Mr Msipa said the Zanu-PF leadership has been notified of his father’s wishes and had agreed with the burial arrangements.

“My father will be buried alongside our mother at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre on Saturday. That has been agreed to by the ruling party and our family,” said Mr Msipa in an interview at his father’s house in Kopje, Gweru.

“As we work on the burial arrangements as a family and the Ministry of Home Affairs, mourners will be gathered here at number 57 Kopje in Gweru and at Charles’ Borrowdale home in Harare.”

Mr Msipa said his father’s body would be flown from Harare to his rural home in Zvishavane on Thursday for people there to get an opportunity to bid him farewell.

The following day, the body will be taken to his home in Kopje, Gweru East, where it will lie in state ahead of the burial on Saturday afternoon at Gweru Provincial Heroes Acre.

Meanwhile, a sombre atmosphere engulfed the Midlands Province and Gweru in particular following the untimely death of the veteran nationalist affectionately known by some as CG or simply Governor.

Since the announcement of his death, people from across the political divide and some residents of Gweru have been flocking to his Gweru home to pay their respects.

Announcing the decision to confer National hero status on the late nationalist on Monday night, Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said:

“Cde Msipa has worked for this country, has served this country, and 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.”

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 Rhodesia 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 1975, Cde Msipa 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 1975-1979. 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.

By Patrick Chitumba, source-chronicle

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