Elita Chikwati and Farirayi Machivenyika
The death of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General Sibusiso Busi Moyo (Rtd), yesterday morning from Covid-19 complications came as a great shock, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
President Mnangagwa said Lt Gen Moyo (59) played an important role in the execution of Zimbabwe’s engagement and re-engagement policy of embracing the rest of the world and repairing relations with countries that had taken a position against Zimbabwe.
“The death early this morning (yesterday) of our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Lt General (Rtd) Dr SB Moyo, after Covid 19-related complications, has come to all of us as a great shock.
“On behalf of the ruling party Zanu PF, Government, my family, on my own behalf and that of our entire nation, I wish to express my sincere and deep heartfelt condolences to the Moyo family. My heart goes out especially to his wife, Justice (Loice) Matanda-Moyo, and to the children on this their saddest loss. In condoling with them, I urge them to derive solace and comfort from the distinguished role Dr Moyo played in the service of his people and nation, for which he shall be remembered and honoured across generations. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.
Lt Gen Moyo abandoned his high school studies to join the liberation struggle and distinguished himself as a courageous freedom fighter who helped liberate the country from colonialism.
“At independence, he would attest into the Zimbabwe National Army which he served with gallantry and characteristic loyalty. Indeed, he would rapidly rise through the ranks until he became part of the top Command of our security establishment. In 2017, I appointed him our Minister of Foreign Affairs, later adding International Trade to the portfolio and his bundle of responsibilities.
“In that onerous role, our nation relied on him for a determined execution of our engagement and re-engagement policy through which we sought to embrace the rest of the world, while repairing relations with those countries which had taken positions against us over our legitimate and principled decision to recover our heritage, principally land,” the President said.
President Mnangagwa said Lt Gen Moyo persistently deployed patient and dignified diplomacy, even against difficult and often hostile interlocutors. Through that patience and perseverance, Zimbabwe had expanded friendships, and registered significant diplomatic gains and victories across the globe.
He described Lt Gen Moyo as a distinguished scholar who balanced his time between his responsibilities and chores as a soldier, and his pursuit of higher studies.
“Such was his discipline and unrelenting quest for self-improvement which inspired all of us,” he said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the death of Lt Gen Moyo was a terrible and painful loss of a great patriot who was central to the peaceful transfer of power through the 2017 November restoration of the revolution.
“His meticulous planning and execution of pertinent events saved the nation from chaos and bloodshed. He would go on to tackle the pariah status of the nation on his appointment as Foreign Minister.
“He cultivated a symbiotic relationship with my ministry as we worked to rebrand the image of the nation. To both traditional friends and erstwhile adversaries, he was easy to work with because we shared the common bonds as cadres of the national war of liberation. We will forever be indebted to Comrade Dr SB Moyo,” she said.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Cde Kindness Paradza, said they worked very well with Lt Gen Moyo with the committee benefiting immensely from this interaction since 2018.
“He was the driving force behind President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy especially the task on engagement and re-engagement including the mantra, ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’. He was liked within the diplomatic community here at home and abroad. Our interaction with him as a committee resulted in a number of positive reforms within the ministry, especially the welfare of our diplomats dotted around the globe.”
Cde Paradza said Lt Gen Moyo had strong leadership qualities and maintained cordial relations with those he worked with.
“A no-nonsense military man, Lt Gen Moyo confronted some wayward Western diplomats who wanted to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty with a firm and robust response. We will surely miss him.
“As a committee, we had cultivated a close working relationship with him which was more complementary in every aspect including giving his full support towards our thrust on parliamentary diplomacy,” he said.
On his twitter handle, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said Lt Gen Moyo was a true patriot and key pillar of the Second Republic.
“My heartfelt condolences to the family of Cde @MinisterSBMoyo, to His Excellency @edmnangagwa and Government and to the wide Zimbabwean community for the loss of a true patriot and freedom fighter, a key pillar of the new dispensation. RIP SB Moyo, your good works remain with us,” he said.
Lt Gen Moyo was born on November 20, 1961 at Mnene Hospital in Mberengwa and joined the liberation struggle in 1976.
He received military training in Zambia and the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He became a member of the High Command and was integrated into the Zimbabwe National Army as a captain in 1980.
He rose through the ranks to major general and was promoted to lieutenant general on retirement in 2017.
Once he was a civilian, Lt Gen Moyo was appointed Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, a position that he held until the time of his death.
He was also a Zanu PF Politburo member.