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Joseph Wilfred Msika


Vice President of Zimbabwe

More by user: mchironda
Created: 17th Nov 2009
Modified: 17th Nov 2009
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Vice President of Zimbabwe
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Description of Work:

Served as the Vice- president of Zimbabwe

Biographical Information
Joseph Wilfred Msika
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Dec/12/1923
Gender: male
Place of Origin: Zimbabwe

Joseph Wilfred Msika was a Zimbabwean politician who served as Vice President of Zimbabwe from 1999 to 2009.

Msika was born in the Chiweshe district of Southern Rhodesia. He attended Howard and Mt Selinda institutes, where he trained to become a carpentry teacher. He then moved to Bulawayo, where he worked as a carpenter and ran a fish-and-chip shop.

Later, Msika was a teacher at Usher Institute and became active in nationalist politics, working with nationalists such as Masotsha Ndlovu and Benjamin Burombo. He joined the Rhodesia Textile and Allied Workers' Union around 1944 or 1945

Msika lived briefly in South Africa before returning to Bulawayo where, in the mid-1950s, he became Treasurer of Joshua Nkomo’s newly formed African National Congress. He spent much of the next two decades in and out of detention with his leader. When Nkomo died in 1999, Msika stepped into his post of Vice-President.

Msika has been at the centre of nationalist politics for over half a century and his life story runs parallel to Zimbabwe’s liberation movement; he joined it a decade earlier than Robert Mugabe.    

Msika represented the Mashonaland wing of the Patriotic Front while for Mugabe, he served as the Matebeleland presence in ZANU-PF. In fact, his family came from the Musikavanhu Ndau chieftainship in southern Manicaland. His role has always been that of a conciliator and he has never been linked to the party’s competing corrupt networks.

Joseph Msika, pleaded to retire from the vice-presidency on the grounds of age and infirmity but President Robert Mugabe was reluctant to let him go because of the problems it would create in the hierarchy of his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Msika did not run in the March 2005 parliamentary elections, but Mugabe appointed him to one of the thirty unelected seats in Parliament. He also did not stand for election in the March 2008 parliamentary election. Mugabe, however, appointed him to the Senate in August 2008 and then swore him in as Vice President on 13 October 2008, together with Joice Mujuru.

In January 2009 Msika was apparently well enough to stand in as acting President when Mugabe went on his customary annual leave.

Msika was originally a member and vice-president of Nkomo’s PF-Zapu. The party merged with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in December 1987 under a unity agreement which brought the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces to an end.

A veteran politician Msika was arrested in 1964 and held in detention where, save for a two-week period in 1965, he remained until his release in 1974. Msika was a member of the ZAPU delegation to the Lancaster House Conference that negotiated  independence for Zimbabwe in 1980.

At a rally held in Bulawayo in October 2006 Msika dismissed Mugabe’s previous apology for the Gukurahundi killings, condemned internationally for the violence unleashed on innocent Ndebele peasants over a four-year period.


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