POLITICAL parties and pressure groups in Matabeleland region have described the late former Zanu PF politburo member and Midlands governor, Cephas Msipa, as the face of the 1987 Unity Accord signed by PF-Zapu and Zanu PF to end the Gukurahundi atrocities.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Msipa succumbed to pneumonia at West End Clinic in Harare on Monday and has been declared a national hero.
He was 85.
Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, said the late Msipa’s selfless role resulted in a ceasefire to end the 1980s mass killings.
“Msipa’s warm relationship with (President) Robert Mugabe during the infamous moment of madness (Gukurahundi) made the negotiations much easier for the under-siege Zapu leadership and the mother party today appreciates and cherishes Msipa’s efforts of that time,” he said.
“It was his concerted efforts to peaceful solutions to conflict that saved lives of millions, who were predominantly Zapu supporters.”
Msipa was one of the few Zanu PF politicians, who openly challenged Mugabe to admit failure and hand over power to the younger generation.
Ibhetshu LikaZulu spokesperson, Mbuso Fuzwayo credited Msipa with striving to give a correct account of the country’s liberation struggle at a time there were seemingly concerted efforts to downplay Zapu’s war efforts.
“We are pleased that, in his lifetime, he made an effort to correct the false narrative of our history that seeks to forget the huge contribution of Zapu and Zipra during the armed struggle through his biography (In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: A Memoir),” he said.
“We, as Ibhetshu, are convinced that Msipa was one of the loyal sons of this country, who played a selfless role to bring an end to the Matabeleland and Midlands genocide. This contribution will forever remain inscribed in our hearts, and history will not forget him.”
MDC leader, Welshman Ncube said Msipa stood for fairness and justice, adding his biography will help future generations to refocus the trajectory of the country’s politics.
“Cephas Msipa was the unfortunately ignored conscience of Zanu PF, the moral compass, constantly reminding the corrupt Zanu PF leadership of the values and principles of the liberation struggle,” he said.
“He stood for fairness and justice during the heady days of the liberation struggle, did his best to try and be fair to the white farmers, who were at the receiving end of the land reform exercise, which ultimately cost him his job.
“Had there been more as him in Zanu PF during the last 15 years, maybe the history of this country would have turned out differently,” he said.