Zimbabwe Vice President Msika Not Dead

Vice-President Msika (centre) is seen here in March this year at the funeral of General Zvinavashe at the Heroes Acre. With him are Robert "The Solution" Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. The Vice President left the event very early and went back home due to ill health. Today, online publications are full of stories that he has died, but impeccable government sources, including the VP's own aides, are dismissing this.

Harare, Zimbabwe, 04 August 2009

Despite reports you have been reading online, Zimbabwean Vice President Joseph Msika has not died.

The Vice-President, who has been unwell for some years and whose premature "death" has been reported before, is on life support at a Harare private hospital as I type this, impeccable sources within government have confirmed.

The Vice-President was apparently put on life support in the early hours of this morning and is in a critical condition.

Msika took the slot left vacant by the death of veteran Zimbabwe politican, Joshua Nkomo, also known as Father Zimbabwe. Nkomo was the first black Zimbabwean leader of the resistance against colonial and Rhodesian rule.

The slot that Msika occupies in Government is reserved for ZAPU, the political party founded by Dr Joshua Nkomo and from which Mugabe and others split to form ZANU PF.

If something were to happen to Msika, John Nkomo, ZANU PF Chairman (ZAPU is now a part of ZANU PF) is guaranteed to become the next vice-president.

Confirmation of this would perhaps only come at the ZANU PF Congress in December.

Today, as I tried to confirm these reports about the VP's "death", I struggled with our by now routinely atrocious phone lines. It is impossible to get through to Econet from either Netone or landlines and this has been the case for some weeks now. The Vice President's son's cellphone appears to be switched off and the phone at Msika's own home is going unaswered.

Still, a senior government official I spoke to confirmed with Msika's aide that the Vice President is alive but on life support.

Details will emerge during the evening.


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