PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has described Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, who was unanimously declared a national hero, as a distinguished freedom fighter who was ever willing to take any assignment.
In his condolence message to the Khaya Moyo family, the President who is also the ruling party First Secretary and President said the death of the liberation war stalwart came as a shock to him.
Cde Moyo (76) succumbed to cancer on Sunday at a Bulawayo hospital after a long battle with the disease. His national hero status was confirmed. However, burial arrangements are yet to be publicised.
“The tragic demise yesterday (Sunday) of Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo after a long battle with cancer came as a profound shock to our nation, to our party Zanu PF, and to me personally.”
President Mnangagwa described the late as a stalwart of the liberation struggle who played several critical roles before and after the country’s independence.
“A stalwart of the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle and a long-time loyal personal aide to our late Vice President and Father Zimbabwe, Cde Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, Cde SK, as we all affectionately called him, distinguished himself as a true patriot, freedom fighter and a resourceful, versatile cadre beyond the onerous and risky chores of the struggle which he embraced with selfless courage.
“An alma mater of the famous Makerere University, Cde Moyo put all his skills, intellect and Pan African outlook to the national cause, both before and after our independence.”
President Mnangagwa added that Cde Moyo had a rare gift of high intellect which saw him serving in public service, ministries in charge of key portfolios such as Transport and Information, and as Ambassador to South Africa.
He said in nationalist politics and structures, he steadily rose through the ranks of the then ZAPU, and later after the 1987 Unity Accord, of a united Zanu PF until he was appointed to the position of Secretary for Publicity.
“In that demanding role, he became the voice of our party.
“Even as his health failed, he always gave his utmost to his party, Government and to our Nation, which he also served both as a long-time Member of Parliament for the then Bulilima-Mangwe constituency and as a senator.”
President Mnangagwa said the national hero stood for the unity of Zimbabweans whom he served with complete devotion.
“Without doubt, our nation will sorely miss his wise counsel, grounding with the grassroots, and his characteristic energy and ebullience in all he did. Even as he struggled against his ailment which saw him receiving medical attention here at home, and in South Africa and India, we still remained hopeful that he would beat infirmities which afflicted and dogged him, to join us once more in serving our nation. Sadly, this was not to be.”
The President said the death of the veteran liberation war hero is a great loss, not only to the Moyo family, but the nation at large.
“On behalf of the party ZANU PF, Government, our entire nation, and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest, heartfelt condolences to the Moyo family and, in particular, to Mama Moyo and the children on this saddest loss. May they all find comfort in the great honour and regard with which our nation held him. He was and remains our hero and true Son of the Soil. May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.”
Speaking last night after touching down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport from a trade conference held in Durban, South Africa, President Mnangagwa said: “My brother Cde SK, I first met him in 1979 at Lancaster. At that time, he was the assistant to the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo. I don’t think he had any adult life outside the struggle.
“From Makerere University, he joined the struggle on the ZAPU side and he has been with us throughout. He then progressed in the party structures in ZAPU. He reached the Central Committee level and in 1987, when we merged ZANU and ZAPU, again he was in the Central Committee.
“Down the line, he was promoted to be a member of the Politburo, under former President Mugabe. He has also held several positions in Government, first in the public service, as a civil servant and later as a minister.
“So I don’t know of any of his life outside politics, outside the revolution and outside serving the country, or in the public sector. We have indeed lost a committed, articulate Cde among us, and we feel poorer.”