THOUSANDS of people thronged Cecil John Rhodes Primary School grounds in Gweru yesterday to pay their last respects to the national hero Cde Cephas George Msipa who will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare today.
Cde Msipa was 85 when he died at the West End Hospital in Harare on Monday.
From as early as 7:30AM people from all walks of life started trickling into the school grounds as they waited for the body of Cde Msipa’s body from a church service that was held at Church of Christ in Windsor Park, Gweru.
Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, described the late Cde Msipa as a humble, honest and fair person.
He said if there was one minister who was not corrupt; it was Cde Msipa who wanted things done in a proper manner without cutting corners.
“He was one of the people who excelled in education before he became a headmaster and subsequently the president of teachers under the then Rhodesia Teachers Association. The whites fought him and the organisation before he was fired for standing against colonialism,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.
“He was an honourable man, who was very humble and would speak his mind, he was honest and had a sense of fairness,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said Cde Msipa was leaving behind a legacy in the form of the CG Msipa trust which he said had benefited more than 600 underprivileged students.
Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Cde Jason Machaya said Cde Msipa sold his only farm to fund the trust.
He said as the chairperson of the Midlands Lands Committee in charge of allocating land, the late nationalist had shocked everyone by allocating himself a piece of virgin land where there were no structures.
“Vamunyoro, vamafirakureva, vamudavanhu is gone and we will miss him so much. President Mugabe once said if the government had more honourable people like Cde Msipa, the country would prosper.”
The National Heroes Acre, Cde Machaya said, carries the richness of a people’s struggle against the brutal oppressive regime and therefore, Cde Msipa deserved to be buried there.
“There lies the leadership of a people’s revolution, those who sacrificed their lives to bring change in the country. It is an honour to have the national hero’s status bestowed on him,” he said.
Midlands Provincial Administrator Cde Cecilia Chitiyo said there were more than 20 buses that had been provided to the province to ferry relatives and mourners to Harare for Cde Msipa’s burial today at the National Heroes’ Acre.
She said Government and private players had sourced the buses. After a church service at the primary school, there was time for body viewing before the body was flown to Harare.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo province has joined the nation in mourning Cde Msipa.
The Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Cde Eunice Nomthandazo Moyo yesterday said Cde Msipa groomed some of the country’s leaders.
She said the province is fully convinced that Cde Msipa served the country with distinction and his contributions will never be forgotten.
“As Bulawayo we would like to join his Excellency the President Cde R. G Mugabe and the nation at large in mourning the death of a liberation hero and icon Ubaba Cephas George Msipa,” she said.
Minister Moyo said Cde Msipa stood with the people of Matabeleland and the region was proud to have associated with him.
“He has always been a friend. You would find him in the region during important gatherings because although he was a Midlander, he associated with the people of Matabeleland. His leadership assisted us a lot in understanding politics and also learning to forgive, he didn’t keep grudges against anyone,” she said. Herald