We must do more for people: Msipa

HARARE - Zimbabwe should do more for its people given that its leaders are aware of what it meant to be deprived freedom, former Zanu PF politburo member and ex-Governor for the Midlands Province Cephas Msipa has said.

Msipa, undoubtedly one of the country’s elderly politicians, who enjoyed a decades-long friendship with President Robert Mugabe, was speaking at the launch of his political biography In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir at a colourful ceremony in Harare on Thursday evening.

“It is not my intention in my memoir to attack anyone….We should do more. We experienced what it was to be deprived of freedom and therefore would understand this better,” said Msipa to thunderous applause from the audience.

Evidently, In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir decries the democratic deficiencies in Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the same event, former Zimbabwe Ambassador to West Germany George Kahari noted that Msipa was one of the most forthright persons he had ever worked with, adding that he had “immortalised yourself” through the political biography, which was published by Weaver Press.

A minute of silence was observed in honour of prominent Zimbabwean academic Sam Moyo who passed on in India following an accident.

Midlands State University (MSU) lecturer Terence Mashingaidze said Zimbabwe’s lean political writing was wealthier with Msipa’s In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir as it transcends personal experiences to encompass a solid foundation for national development.

Urging former fighters in the war of liberation to write, giving their own perspective of the war, Mashingaidze said the only political biographies to date had been Maurice Nyagumbo’s With the People (1980), Abel Muzorewa’s Rise up and Walk (1978), Joshua Nkomo’s The Story of my Life (1984), Fay Chung’s Reliving The Second Chimurenga: Memories From Zimbabwe’s Liberation Struggle (2006), Judith Todd’s Through the Darkness: A Life in Zimbabwe (2007) and the Shona publication from John George Mayowe, Rega Zvipore (2015).

Political biographies, Mashingaidze observed, leave a lot of gaps in their rendition of the history of our squabble-ridden political sphere.

“Dr Cephas Msipa has been the coal-face of national political and economic developments in Zimbabwe for the past fifty plus years. Therfore his narrative serves to preserve our memories of the struggle for independence; challenges of nation-building in the immediate aftyermath of independence...,” said the MSU academic.

In the book, Msipa dismisses the official massaging of narratives on the Gukurahundi atrocities as “a moment of madness”, saying as the massacres happened over a period spanning more than five years, they cannot therefore be described as such.

In one of the strongest condemnations of one of the darkest periods in the history of post-ind pendent Zimbabwe, Msipa — who fondly refers to Mugabe as his muzukuru (nephew), and helped broker the unity accord of 1987 that ended hostilities between Zanu and Zapu — described the killings as “gruesome”, calling on authorities “to look into the aftermath of Gukurahundi.”

“Gukurahundi was not a day’s event or a ‘moment of madness’. It began in 1981 and continued until 1987 when the unity accord was signed.

“There were meetings at which the matter was raised in my presence, and Mugabe insisted that the matter be discussed so he could learn more about what had happened and was still happening.

“The question is why did he not know what was happening when it was in the media and many human rights organisations and churches were publicly protesting (about it),” Msipa writes.

Despite Mugabe and Msipa enjoying a decades-long friendship, the former Midlands Provincial Affairs minister was fired from Mugabe’s Cabinet during the Gukurahundi era and placed under house arrest, something he says still puzzles him up to this day.

Comments (2)

THE TRAGEDY OF ZIMBABWE IS MOST OF OUR POLITICAL LEADERS HAVE NEVER REALLY CARED ABOUT FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND HUMAN DIGNITY. THEY WENT INTO POLITICS FOR THE SHARE OF THE POWER AND LOOT AND AS LONG AS THEY GOT THAT THEY WENT ALONG WITH THE CORRUPTION AND BRUTAL POLITICAL OPPRESSION. THEY ONLY PROTESTED WHEN THEY FELT THEY WERE NOT GETTING A SHARE OF THE SPOILS AND, UNFORTUNATELY, THEY WERE BY THEN TOO FEEBLE TO CHANGE ANYTHING!

Wilbert Mukori - 29 November 2015

Regret is normal when one is close to the end of their life....this man seeks redemption for his crime by association, as do the rest of the 'people first' crew who have 'suddenly' found their conscience. Don't be fooled Zimbabweans.

mukwerekwere - 30 November 2015

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