Obert Moses Mpofu
On the dawn of November 15, 2017, the late hero of Zimbabwe’s armed struggle assumed the symbolic biblical ‘‘voice of one crying in the wilderness’’ to make a way for the New Dispensation.
To this end, Retired Lt General Dr Sibusiso Moyo is famed as the face of Operation Restore Legacy. For a people who were like a nation in exile, his enunciation of Operation Restore Legacy conveyed optimism for our nation’s renaissance following the capture of the Former
President Robert Mugabe by factional opportunists.
Indeed, ‘‘… the situation in our country had risen to another level.’’ The certainty and courage Cde Sibusiso Moyo’s voice gestured a new beginning for long-deferred national aspirations.
By announcing the turn to Operation Restore Legacy, Dr Moyo articulated the path to Zimbabwe’s second independence.
The nationwide reception of his calm marshalling of Zimbabwe to the New Dispensation was evident of our people’s ripeness for a transition.
Thanks to His Excellency, President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa for availing himself to lead both the nation and the revolutionary ZANU PF to this place of promise. Surprisingly, out of ignorance and neoliberal convenience, the late former Minister of Foreign Affairs has been smeared as a sheer ‘coup announcer’.
This only emanates from the selective amnesia applied in remembering the morality of Operation Restore Legacy and its forerunners like the late patriot. This ill-informed view on the role played ZANU PF and the people of Zimbabwe substantiates the absurdity of our polarisation as a nation. However, to those of us who worked closely with Cde Sibusiso Moyo especially in the events which culminated in the birth of the
New Dispensation and the subsequent rise of the Second Republic will forever cherish him for his distinguished loyalty to the struggle and his passion many other delicate assignments of national interest.
It will be simplistic and inconsistent with history to only remember Cde Moyo as a high ranking military figure who only surfaced to proclaim the formation of the Second Republic. From the outset, his life was dedicated to the liberation of Zimbabwe and the fight against oppression in its totality. He was among other dozens of teenagers who leased their lives for the freedom of Zimbabwe.
In 1976, he left Manama Mission School to be conscripted for ZPRA military training. Like many others of his generation who took the practical military route, especially under ZPRA, Dr Moyo was oriented into true patriotism and revolutionary ideological training to be a vessel of national service.
The mere act of abandoning his education to join the armed struggle substantiates without any inch of misgiving his outright self-denial for the freedom of Zimbabwe.
As such, he represents a rare breed of those who belonged to his generation. It is without doubt that his engagement in politics was more tilted towards the nation than self-interest.
In post-independence Zimbabwe, he acquitted himself as one committed to serving his nation at all costs. Outside the strain of his official obligations to the Zimbabwe National Army, Cde Moyo served the Government of Zimbabwe in various civil and administrative assignments especially in the area of agriculture.
However, many who are not familiar with his rich background in this respect would ignorantly label him an officer from the barracks who found himself assuming an unmerited national duty in the New Dispensation. This only comes from a shallow philosophy which claims that men of the gun have no role to play in civil politics.
Cde Dr Moyo is a victim of this revolutionary detached school of thought which criminalises the military from interfacing with civilian life.
Due to this shallow appreciation of the civil-military relations which have defined our political culture since the time of the armed struggle, our people will be dissuaded to forget military rooted forerunners of our national development like the late Cde Moyo.
Apart from his distinguished academic accomplishments, the late veteran of Zimbabwe’s armed struggle –and a brother to us all in ZANU PF, Cde Sibusiso Moyo was instrumental in the curriculum architecture of the Zimbabwe National Defence College (ZNDC).
His love for knowledge cannot be questioned. The key signification from the late Lt General’s involvement in the formative years and goal sustainability of the ZNDC proves how our defence forces transcend the task of conventional armed territorial integrity preservation.
The application of intellect in our contemporary defence forces enterprise (championed by comrades like Dr Moyo) is highly depicting the magnitude of Zimbabwe’s military craft evolution towards modernity since independence. Certainly, with the untimely departure of Dr
Sibusiso Moyo, the national military fraternity has lost a think-tank.
In his service to the Cabinet as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Retired Lt General Sibusiso Moyo changed the character of Zimbabwe’s Foreign Policy. He submitted due diligence to His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s post-Mugabe era international relations reconfiguration.
As an international relations expert, Moyo deployed his academic acumen to compliment President Mnangagwa’s vision for Zimbabwe’s unfettered and mutual interaction with the entire community of nations. The deradicalisation of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy under the guidance of the Second Republic’s pillars of engagement and re-engagement will forever denote Dr Moyo’s astute to give fluidity to policymaking.
Dr Moyo’s death threatens the future of Zimbabwe’s diplomacy as envisaged in the ethos of the nation’s engagement and re-engagement policy. It is hard to imagine anyone who will fill in the gap left by this determined patriot.
The counterbalance in his revolutionary credentials and the smoothness of his decorum in handling Zimbabwe’s international affairs since 2017 is strongly reminiscent of the late national hero George Silundika’s legacy.
The late Silundika served as ZAPU’s secretary for External Affairs. His personality created suave navigation between radical and moderate diplomacy in Zimbabwe’s multilateral politics. Just like Cde Silundika, Cde Dr Sibusiso Moyo’s leadership qualities imbued militancy, diplomacy and clear academic prognosis to shaping the future of Zimbabwe’s foreign. Indeed, Zimbabwe has lost a hardly replaceable statesman and a dedicated servant of our national revolution. My deepest condolences go to his wife Justice Matanda Moyo, his entire family, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Cabinet, ZDF fraternity and ZANU PF in its entirety.
Go well Mfowethu!
The author, Dr Obert Moses Mpofu is ZANU PF’s Secretary for Administration in the Politburo. This article is extracted from his forthcoming book, On the Shoulders of the Struggle: Memoirs of a Political Insider.