By Farirai Machivenyika
The widow of national hero Vice President Joseph Msika, Maria, who died on Friday last week, has been declared a national heroine and will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Thursday.
Mbuya Msika, who was 89, died at her Highlands home and was declared a national heroine following recommendations by Zanu-PF Bulawayo Province and the Women’s League.
They cited her contribution to the country during and after independence.
Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi made the announcement to mourners at the Msika home last night. “All the members of the Politburo who were asked, the presidium said yes, the other 22 said yes and the other four who are out of the country could not be reached,” he said.
“So, Gogo Maria Msika has overwhelmingly been declared a national heroine.
“She has been declared a national heroine and will be buried on Thursday 28 September. There has been a request that she be taken to Chiweshe and Bulawayo and we would be working to operationalise that request.”
Dr Sekeramayi told mourners that Mbuya Msika survived two grenade attacks in 1977 and belonged to a rare breed of women who married freedom fighters, despite the risks it involved.
“After her passing on, on the 22nd of this month, we were all feeling very sad and as often happen when a giant of her stature passes on those who have interacted with her at political and social levels would want her to have a burial befitting her status,” he said.
“She was a member of our party. We know what she did with Honourable Msika. She was a fighter in her own right and because of that, Bulawayo Province wrote to us requesting that she be declared a national heroine.”
Earlier in day, First Lady Grace Mugabe, who is also the Secretary for Zanu-PF’s Women League, called for the conferment of national heroine status on Mbuya Msika.
She was speaking on behalf of the Women’s League while addressing Zanu-PF supporters at the Harare International Airport soon after arrival from New York, the United States, where she had accompanied President Mugabe to the UN General Assembly.
“I want to say that during our absence our mother Mrs Msika passed away,” she said.
“We want to thank God for the long life and the time had with her. On behalf of the women, I know that Mrs Msipa did a great job in Zimbabwe.
“We all know her history, so on behalf of the women I request that she be accorded national heroine status.”
Mbuya Msika’s body is expected to be taken to the family’s rural home in Chiweshe and then to Bulawayo, before burial on Thursday.
Family representative and sister to the late VP Msika, Mrs Veronica Mwela, thanked Government for honouring the Msika family through conferring the highest status on Mbuya Msika.
“On behalf of the Msika family and knowing how our mother worked in this country, I would want to thank Government for honouring us and giving us peace in our hearts by granting our mother a national hero status,” Mrs Mwela said.
Dr Sekaramayi was accompanied by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe and Simon Khaya Moyo, who is the Minister of Policy Co-ordination and Promotion of Socio-Economic Ventures.
State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, acting Home Affairs Minister Dr Joseph Made, Deputy Minister for Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Abigail Damasane and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Minister Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo were also at the Msika home.
Mbuya Msika is survived by three children, Lucia, Shelton and Maxwell, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren. The Herald