Joseph Msika

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Joseph W. Msika
Joseph Msika
BornJoseph Wilfred Msika
(1923-12-06)December 6, 1923
DiedAugust 4, 2009(2009-08-04) (aged 85)
West End Hospital
Resting placeNational Heroes Acre
  • Vice President
  • Politician
EmployerGovernment of Zimbabwe
Home townMashonaland East
Political partyZimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front

The late Joseph Wilfred Msika was a Zimbabwean politician and former vice president who was in the political arena since the 1950s. He was born on 6 December 1923 in the Chiweshe area of Mashonaland in Zimbabwe.[1] He died on 4 August 2009 and was buried at the National Heroes Acre.[2]

Family and Early Education

Msika was born to a polygamous family. He was the first son born of a second wife in a family dominated by girls. Msika grew up in a Christian environment and his family adhered to the Anglican Church doctrine. Just like most boys of his age, he spent most of his time herding cattle in the villages of Manicaland.[3]

He was subsequently enrolled at Howard Institute (Howard High School), a Salvation Army Church mission school where he did his secondary education in the 1930s.[3] In 1937, he became a border and remained there until he passed his Standard Six. He wanted to pursue a teaching career before his father transfered him to Mt Selinda in Manicaland where he did carpentry. He completed the course through correspondence and passed with a Junior Certificate.[3]

Trade Unionism

After returning from South Africa where he had worked for a while in the 1950s, Msika secured a job in Bulawayo where he worked initially as a general hand. He was eventually promoted to the position of a personnel officer where he dealt with problems arising between management and staff. This prompted him to have interests in trade unionism and shortly afterwards he became president of the Textile and Allied Workers’ Union.[4]


The path from trade unionism to politics was a straightforward one and it was not long before he joined the old African National Congress, becoming chairman of the Bulawayo branch. On September 12, 1957, the ANC merged with the African National Youth League (ANYL) in Salisbury to form a new ANC and Msika was appointed National Treasurer.[4]

In 1961, Msika was involved in the organisation of a successful strike. This led to his dismissal from employment and he decided to set up his own business – a grocery and fish and chip shop. He was first arrested and detained in February 1959. He was sent to Khami Maximum Security Prison where he met nationalists from Nyasaland (Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).[5]

From Khami, he was transferred to Selukwe and then to Marandellas (presesnt day Marondera). After his release from Marandellas, he was elected Councillor for the National Democratic Party (NDP). Later, when ZAPU was formed, he became Secretary for Youth Affairs and worked with the likes of Joshua Nkomo. When the split in the movement came in July 1963, Msika was in Dar-es-Salaam with other members of the ZAPU executive.[3]

Ndabaningi Sithole, Morton Malianga, Robert Mugabe and Leopold Takawira proposed a resolution deposing Nkomo from the leadership, Msika walked out of the meeting. In 1964, Msika was arrested together with Joshua Nkomo, Josiah and Ruth Chinamano and sent to Gonakudzingwa. Msika was part of the delegation that signed the Lancaster House Agreement which resulted in Zimbabwe's independence in April 1980.[3]

In July 2020, Joseph Msika was listed, in the BSR of 18 July 2020, as a beneficiary in the 2007 RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

The data is analysed by recipients origin:.

  • Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value.

Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,
Mashonaland West US$44,7 million
Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million.

  • Two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million.
  • Masvingo had US$26,4 million,
  • Manicaland US$18 million and
  • Midlands had US$14 million.

Joseph Msika is listed under the thematic group “Politicians”. The amount is goods worth US$678,867.00. [6]

Positions Held

Zimbabwe Presidium after being sworn in during 2004. credit: Abayomi Azikiwe
  1. 1954 Textile and Allied Workers Union
  2. 1957 Secretary for Youth Affairs, Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)
  3. 1963 Secretary for External Affairs, PCC
  4. 1974 Member of Central Committee, African National Congress
  5. 1975 Secretary General,African National Congress
  6. 1980 Minister Natural Resources
  7. 1984 Vice president of ZAPU
  8. 1988 Minister of Local Government and Urban Development
  9. 1999 Vice President of Zimbabwe[7]


Msika died on August 4 2009 at West End Hospital in Harare after a long battle with hypertension. He was buried at the National Heroes Acre.[8][9]


  1. , Vice President Joseph Msika dies, "Nehanda Radio", published:4 Aug 2009,retrieved:8 Jul 2014"
  2. , Joseph Msika, "The Telegraph", published:5 Aug 2009,retrieved:8 Jul 2014"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 R. Carey and D Mitchell, Obituary: Joseph Wilfred Msika, "New Zimbabwe", published:4 Aug 2009,retrieved:8 Jul 2014"
  4. 4.0 4.1 , HE Joseph Msika, "Africa Confidential", published:2014,retrieved:8 Jul 2014"
  5. , Vice-President Joseph Msika dies, "The ZIMDIASPORA", published:4 Aug 2009,retrieved:8 Jul 2014"
  6. BSR EXCLUSIVE: Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme], Big Saturday Read, Published: 18 July 2020 Retrieved: 18 July 2020
  7. S. Kawadza, Zimbabwe News Update: Vice-President Joseph Msika Dies; President Mugabe Says Nation Has Lost Man of Stature, "Pan African News Wire", published:7 Aug 2009,retrieved:"
  8. Msika: Visionary, fearless founding nationalist, Herald, Published: August 28, 2014, Retrieved: August 4, 2015
  9. Remembering Cde Joseph W. Msika, ZImbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Published: August 4, 2010, August 4, 2015