Zimbabwe is in mourning. In barely a week, the country has lost top national figures who contributed immensely to the birth of an independent Zimbabwe.
As we bury Cdes Morton Malianga and Ellen Gwaradzimba, we also pay homage to another illustrious son of the soil, Dr Sibusiso Busi Moyo who succumbed to Covid-19 yesterday. This is a sad period in the history of our country.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister SB Moyo will be best remembered as a man who epitomised grace, candour and unbridled passion and commitment to the broader welfare of his country.
A former military commander, Lieutenant General Moyo rose to national prominence when he became the public mouthpiece of Operation Restore Legacy that led to the birth of the Second Republic following the resignation of founding leader, the late Cde Robert Mugabe.
It was a marvel to witness his smooth transition from military fatigues to executive suits as he became the public face of the country’s foreign policy when he was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
He understood modern day diplomacy, convincing erstwhile adversaries to mellow their reticent attitude towards the New Dispensation.
His prime task was to push for engagement and re-engagement with all countries, with particular emphasis on Western nations that imposed sanctions on the country at the turn of the millennium.
A graduate of the Zimbabwe Military Academy, Cde SB Moyo understood the importance of broadening one’s intellect as he furthered his education and obtained a doctorate in international relations.
It was probably a combination of the rigours of military discipline and a deeper understanding of international relations that empowered him to navigate smoothly the contours of modern day diplomacy.
He expertly marshalled and incorporated well the aspect of international trade that traditionally was under the Ministry of Industry.
He always emphasised that engagement and re-engagement was not about surrendering the country’s sovereignty and urged journalists to be guided by national interests in their daily reportage of news.
He urged the media and formerly reticent Western nations to acknowledge the array of reforms that were being implemented by the Second Republic.
As we mourn our hero, we are consoled by his rich legacy immortalised in our national psyche.
His dedication to the freedom of the black majority was undoubted. He joined the war of liberation as a mere teenager and his life became a lottery at the mercy of marauding Rhodesian forces.
After independence, Cde SB Moyo joined the Zimbabwe Defence Forces where his discipline and dedication to duty saw him rising through the ranks to become Major-General until his retirement in 2017.
Conscious of the historical ties that bind Zimbabwe and Britain, Cde SB Moyo made the former colonial power his prime target for re-engagement.
He visited England when he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on April 20, 2018.
Although Zimbabwe was and still not a member, it was invited to the meeting signalling the thawing of relations between the two countries.
Here was a man who was committed to Zimbabwe being integrated into community of nations as an equal member. In his vision, the Commonwealth was a suitable entry point. It’s sad Cde SB Moyo met his demise before fulfilling this endeavour.
History will record that at a critical stage of Operation Restore Legacy, Cde SB Moyo rallied Zimbabweans to remain peaceful.
Cde SB Moyo contributed in his own inimitable way to the global embrace of the Second Republic following Operation Restore Legacy.
He remains an icon of this momentous event that shaped and moved the country’s centre-stage.
Zimbabwe has lost a true patriot, a darling of many across all sections of society.
There is no doubt that his immortal deeds will continue nourishing Zimbabwe’s quest for economic emancipation and prosperity.
Cde SB Moyo has left a legacy of an indefatigable spirit, a man who refused to give up on his country and never stopped believing that a better and prosperous Zimbabwe is possible.