Joseph Madzimure and Africa Moyo
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Lieutenant General Sibusiso Busi Moyo (Retired), has been declared a national hero.
Lt Gen Moyo succumbed to Covid-19-related complications on Wednesday at a Harare medical facility.
He was 59.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also Zanu PF national chairperson, was dispatched to the Moyo family home in Harare yesterday evening by President Mnangagwa to deliver the message.
She said Lt Gen Moyo will be buried at the National Heroes Acre on a date to be advised.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said President Mnangagwa and the party saw it fit to honour Dr Moyo as national hero for the contributions he made during the liberation struggle and after independence.
The ministries of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, and Health and Child Care are now working on modalities and logistics on how the burial will be conducted.
“He has been conferred national hero status. The party was unanimous in according him the national hero status. We acceded to a request by Midlands Province and the Defence Forces that he be declared a national hero,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.
“I have been sent by the President of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa and his two deputies, Vice President Costantino Chiwenga and Vice President Kembo Mohadi and the Zanu PF leadership, representing the Government and the party, to deliver a condolence message and confer a hero’s status to the late Cde Moyo,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri described the late Lt Gen Moyo as a dedicated and courageous fighter who contributed immensely to the liberation struggle.
She said he joined the liberation struggle at a tender age after abandoning his high school studies, and “distinguished himself as a courageous freedom fighter who helped liberate the country from colonialism”.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said apart from his distinguished academic accomplishments, Lt-Gen Moyo was instrumental in the curriculum architecture of the Zimbabwe National Defence University (ZNDU).
In accepting the hero status, Lt Gen Moyo’s father, Mr Cephas Moyo, described his son as a courageous person, who dedicated his life to serve the nation.
He thanked Zanu PF and President Mnangagwa for according his son the national hero status.
“We are really humbled by the hero status accorded to my son by the ruling party Zanu PF and the President. We are really humbled,” said Mr Moyo.
Brother to the late national hero, Mr Bothwell Moyo, who is the family spokesperson, described the late as a unifier and a pillar of strength to the family.
“My brother was a father figure, and always jovial during family gatherings,” he said.
Lt Gen Moyo’s mother-in-law, Mbuya Vivian Matanda, described him as an intelligent person who was frank and open to everyone.
“He was a pillar of strength. His death came as a shock to us, but we are happy with the recognition accorded to him,” said Mbuya Matanda.
Tributes continue to pour in for Lt Gen Moyo, with Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax saying she learnt of his death “with deep sorrow and sadness”.
“My sincere condolences to HE President Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the Government, the bereaved family and the people of Zimbabwe on this loss,” she said.
Dr Tax said Lt-Gen Moyo served Sadc in various capacities including as a member of the Council of Ministers; head of a number of SADC Electoral Observer Missions; and as Chairperson of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
“He tremendously contributed to SADC integration, specifically, to the enhancement and consolidation of peace and security in the region. May his soul rest in eternal peace!”
Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Abbas Navazani said Dr Moyo’s death was “deeply saddened”, adding that he was a “dear friend of Iran who promoted and strongly supported deep and genuine friendship between Iran and Zimbabwe”.
“Iran deeply appreciated the great contribution of Dr Moyo to the excellent political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries.
“The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Harare would like to extend its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government and the people of Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Navazani.
Zanu PF acting Deputy Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Tendai Chirau said Dr Moyo’s death had robbed the nation of a true patriot who served with distinction.
“The Youth League mourns with you and celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable soldier, father and diplomat who devoted his life to raising high the banner of our nation,” he said.
“Ever young at heart, he was in many respects an inspiration to many youths, who he always passionately counselled not to be enticed by ephemeral pieces of silver at the expense of our enduring legacy of freedom and self-determination.
“Notably, the forward-looking diplomat had already begun to spearhead a youth-centred campaign for the 2023 presidential elections, which roped in a number of university students, starting with Mberengwa as the initial centrepiece.”
He added that Dr Moyo was an astute diplomat whose tenure in office was characterised by high organisational acumen and top-notch people skills; a fitting epitome of the Second Republic’s “Zimbabwe is open for Business” mantra, into which he had “inexorably immersed himself in pursuit of the engagement and reengagement agenda under Vision 2030”.
“Without you, Zanu PF is undoubtedly poorer. Indeed, we are all left poorer, and mere words certainly fail us in expressing this loss,” said Cde Chirau.
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).