Is this what we struggled for?: Msipa

HARARE - Respected Zanu PF elder, Cephas Msipa, has advised President Robert Mugabe and the ruling party to listen to the growing voices of dissent in the country, warning that failure to do so would be tantamount to negating the values of the country’s liberation struggle which cost the lives of so many Zimbabweans.

Reflecting on today’s Heroes Day commemorations in an interview with the Daily News at the weekend, Msipa — who affectionately calls Mugabe “muzukuru wangu” (my nephew) — said his heart bleeds each time he is confronted by the grinding poverty afflicting the majority of Zimbabweans, which has seen many people turning to street vending to survive.

Msipa spoke as Mugabe and Zanu PF are facing their biggest challenges since they came to power in April 1980, with the ruling party torn apart by its seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, and the nonagenarian facing growing calls from both within the former liberation movement and without to step down.

Today’s Heroes Day commemorations and tomorrow’s Defence Forces Day are also being held at a time that the government is being rocked by escalating citizen unrest and waves of protests and riots against the country’s deepening political and economic rot.

“When I move around in Harare, Bulawayo or Gweru people always ask me whether what is happening in the country is what we fought for. Indeed, is this what we suffered for? The fact that people are asking those questions tells me that something has gone wrong.

“I look around and see all these protests and I ask what is happening? Is this what we fought for?

“We were fighting for peace, harmony and prosperity but as it is people are getting poorer by the day. There is grinding poverty all over and that is why people are now demanding answers,” Msipa said with a tinge of regret in his voice.

The retired politician, who has known Mugabe for more than 50 years, said it was dispiriting that Zimbabweans were today worse off than they were at the dawn of the country’s independence in 1980, with leaders seemingly more intent on attacking each other than serving the people.

“As Zimbabweans, we are shouting at each other and not reaching out to each other. Isn’t it time we think of something that can bring us together? What we should do is to say let us have an indaba to discuss the Zimbabwe we want.

“In my mind that should be the subject for discussion, and we would want as many people as possible to discuss that. Let Zimbabweans have a platform where they can air their views.

“As to who would lead this, I believe that for such a meeting to be successful it needs to be chaired by the president or his nominee, so that it is recognised and to compel all the leadership to be there to hear what people are saying,” Msipa said.

The former Cabinet minister, who has been consistent over the past two years in questioning Mugabe’s recent political tactics and his failure to name a successor, said he was “very disappointed” that the ruling party was continuing to engage in its senseless bloodletting instead of focusing on the country’s dying economy.

“This time is an opportunity to speak about the heroes we lost. I went through the struggle and I am disappointed that now instead of being united we seem to be splitting into different groups, expelling each other.

“I have been trying to think how many people between 1960 and 2014 have been expelled from the party. I cannot remember, but the whole emphasis should be on uniting the people. Maybe this can only stop when we have an agenda about the Zimbabwe we want,” Msipa added.

The pointed comments came amid the fact that Zanu PF has since its formation in the early 1960s been characterised by seemingly intractable fights and purges, some of which have resulted in murders or the throwing of dissenters into filthy dungeons.

Msipa said although he preferred not to speak about the country’s challenges “as a retiree”, the dire situation obtaining in Zimbabwe compelled him to add his voice to the growing cries for solutions.

“We are disintegrating and is that what we are going to hand over to the generations to come? Are they not going to blame us? Let us hand over this country in good shape.

“If we had to hand it today I am sure we would be ashamed. What will those who come after us learn from us? And can we say we have bequeathed to them unity and peace? So, at my age, yes I am retired but I am also thinking of the future.

“I want to see that we hand over this country to the future generation in good shape ... people who are united, people who have common goals, not people who are fighting for positions all the time.

“We want people who put the nation above party. I think as long as we think our parties are more important than the country then we are in trouble.  Our country is very important. We are like people in a ship and we should not allow that ship to sink,” Msipa asserted.

Drawing lessons from the country’s Unity Accord of 1987, he said it “boggles the mind that today no one seems to treasure unity anymore”.

Comments (6)

Mmmmm NEHANDA NYAKASIKANA mapfupa amuka....taiga gumi nevaviri vamwe varipi ...?

Justice - 9 August 2016

MAREVA CHITOVA

BIG SHONS - 10 August 2016

Nehanda and Kaguvi are tribal things how did they taik to Ndebeles they have been used for nothing and senselessly by one party. All spirit mediums were important from Mutare, Bulawayo, Chiredzi, Zhombe and Beit Bridge.

Batsiranayi Ngugama - 10 August 2016

Nehanda and Kaguvi are tribal things how did they taik to Ndebeles they have been used for nothing and senselessly by one party. All spirit mediums were important from Mutare, Bulawayo, Chiredzi, Zhombe and Beit Bridge.

Batsiranayi Ngugama - 10 August 2016

Nehanda and Kaguvi are tribal things how did they taik to Ndebeles they have been used for nothing and senselessly by one party. All spirit mediums were important from Mutare, Bulawayo, Chiredzi, Zhombe and Beit Bridge.

Batsiranayi Ngugama - 10 August 2016

I comment u Mr Msipa for knowing when to retire. It shows that u care much about yourself/ your health n also about zim. That is what other old n clueless ministers n the President must do....know when to retire and not...know when to b retired. ZANU pf has a different vision for th country. Moreover ZANU pf believes it's bigger than zim It pains to see a good country looted to ruins.... Yangova mazvake mazvake.....

Dhewa - 10 August 2016

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