Both formations of Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic Change issued statements on Thursday praising the late Vice President Joseph Msika of the formerly ruling ZANU-PF party as a true hero of the country's liberation struggle of the 1970s.
The MDC formation headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai described Msika as “untainted with corruption, one of the few bigwigs who did not join the gravy train.” It said the country has lost a selfless leader who spent more than half his life fighting for national liberation.
Statements from ZANU-PF and the office of President Robert Mugabe said Msika passed away at West End Clinic in Harare early Wednesday. But there have been conflicting reports suggesting that he died earlier, perhaps even as early as the weekend.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party shares the grief of Msika's family and the nation.
Speaking for the MDC grouping headed by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, Edwin Mushoriwa called Msika’s passing a true national loss.
Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya remarked that while Msika was a true nationalist, some will also recall the unrestrained diatribes he launched against the MDC in opposition.