Go well my friend, Cde SK

21 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Go well my friend, Cde SK

The Sunday Mail

Amb Chris Mutsvangwa

COMRADE Simon Khaya Moyo is no more. He has joined the pantheon of Zimbabwe’s finest patriots throughout the ages. Of recent note are fellow heroines and heroes of Chimurenga II who sacrificed to bury the Rhodesian army of the racist, colonial, minority settler regime of rebel Ian Smith.

There was always that evanescent sparkle in the political heart of the hardened diamond stone which was the patriotic and revolutionary embodiment of Cde Simon Khaya Moyo. He stood for all that was noble in the spirit of sacrifice that was the hallmark of the Samora Machel-Soweto ‘76 Uprising Generation of the 1960-70s, the militant fighters for freedom, democracy and independence in the southernmost tip of the African continent.

The shining star of the Zimbabwean revolution emblazoned in Cde “S.K.” streaked across the revolutionary Southern Milkway at the hour of post independent Zimbabwe’s existential threat. Cde S.K. was deployed to serve as Ambassador to South Africa from 2001-2011. His discharge of the diplomatic assignment shall forever stand out in the annals of Zimbabwe’s diplomatic service corps.

The turn of the century noticed a game-changing evolution of the global geopolitical environment. And it was turning out unfavourable for Zimbabwe even as the sub region was recovering from the ravages of apartheid racism. This was notwithstanding the independence of Namibia under the aegis of sister revolutionary party SWAPO in 1989. And the epochal freedom march of South Africa steered by the brotherly revolutionary ANC party in 1994.

Africa had been having its home run after a near death miss. It had avoided the genocidal fate that was meted out to native populations of North America and Australasia.

Ever since the end of WWII, Africa had been inexorably scoring victory after another as it shirked off the deleterious aftermath of the 1884 Berlin Conference. The trans-Atlantic Slave Trade had sapped the capacity of the Mother continent. This had then aggravated the weighty burden spawned by the outcome of the law of uneven social development. Europe had leapfrogged into the Industrial Revolution.

Predatory imperialism thereafter visited the be-knighted Africa. Partition and colonial subjugation became its curse at the close of the 19th century.

The Second World War saw Africa re-awaken from the lethargic stupor. Radical nationalism reasserted with increasing vigour. It gave issue to an increasingly militant confrontation against vestigial racist and apartheid white colonial settler minority regimes of southern Africa.

Far away Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Angola led the pack in defeating the imperial fascism of Portugal in 1974. The Colonel’s Red Carnation revolution in Lisbon lost no time in acceding to demands of independence. The demoralised imperial expedition armies were tired of colonial wars.

Zimbabwe followed suit in 1980.

All thanks to Tanzania and Zambia. They both were the principal hosts of the rear bases of the various national liberation movements. These were waging guerrilla wars to unseat the entrenched outposts of European imperial writ.

These bases served as the crucible of a new African persona being fashioned out of the guerrilla Diaspora as it bonded in a common anti-colonial fight. Varied experiences were shared by military recruits despatched to sympathetic countries for training. Africa was reviving its military virility.

Along the way, Southern Africa spawned and acquired a new political soul that supplanted as it strengthened the age-old spirit of neighbourliness. It graduated historical affinity and geographical proximity to oneness that tied all together.

A new political identity was begot. It is typified by the entity that is today’s Southern African Development Community. The precursor was of course the Frontline States initiated by Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Seretse Khama of Botswana. Later Samora Machel of Mozambique, Augustinho Neto of Angola and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe joined and solidified the sub regional grouping.

There was also the distant big brother in Nigeria. Lagos underpinned this geopolitical phalanx of militant confrontation on behalf of the Africa Union. This is the geopolitical milieu that shaped the mind of Comrade Simon Khaya Moyo.

Needless to highlight that he acquired an impeccable revolutionary ethos spiced with a cosmopolitan grasp of issues at play. These attributes came in handy and paid off huge dividends to Zimbabwe at an hour of crucial national need in the first decade of the new century.

Dark clouds began to ominously hover on Zimbabwe as of 1989. This was happening even as we headily celebrated Namibian and South African freedoms. After all, Mother Africa had finally and completely rid itself of European bondage.

The underlying cause of the new discomfort lay in the hurtling collapse of the edifice of the Soviet Union as of 1989. Events in distant Moscow had ramifications in faraway Southern Africa. And there was a cogent background to this cause and effect.

The 1917 Bolshevik Revolution had given the non-European world that access to the modern assault machine guns. China was the first beneficiary of this democratisation of the potent weaponry of war as it fought to stave off the spectre of colonisation.

The Russian move led to the collapse of the European gun cartel, the most salient outcome of the 1884 Berlin Conference.

No longer were European imperial nations the sole wielders of the means of modern warfare.

The road was henceforth paved to the eventual eponymous spread of the Kalashnikov AK47 rifle as a darling of global guerrilla movements after WWII.

History has a perverse manner of repeating itself. The 2001 collapse of the Soviet Union had an unexpected consequence. It re-kindled memories of the unchallenged imperial hegemony that was reminiscent of the 1884 Berlin Conference.

Moscow was mired in a miasma of internal turmoil and Beijing was flailing as ossified governance systems cracked.

Washington and London saw tantalising opportunities to revive a post-imperial world order.

Warmongers of every hue and stripe took centre stage in the political theatre of varied Western capitals. Reckless triumphalism was at play and would soon run amok.

It would hatch three decades of intermittent warfare. The American post-imperial hubris had to wait for Afghanistan 2021 to close this dark chapter of the pestilence of gratuitous warfare.

Back to 2000. In no time the George Bush-Tony Blair duet dragooned the West into jingoistic aggression.

In 2003 George Bush’s dogs of war were unleashed upon Iraq. Britain’s Tony Blair ardently joined into that “Coalition of the Willing” as they brushed aside an enfeebled United Nations Security Council.

Malign Tony Blair had his quid pro quo in this evil enterprise. His gun sights were focussed on Zimbabwe, that erstwhile “Little England” of the British Empire in Africa.

He craved to bring back Harare into his fold.

The Zimbabwe Government clearly faced an existential threat. Diplomatic sleight of hand became the seminal weapon. The young nation had to master every stratagem to avoid being turned to toast cynical carpet bombing from the two rampaging warmongers and their pliant hangers-on in the capitals of the perfidious West.

The grave challenges saw S.K. Moyo being despatched to the Embassy in Pretoria (Tshwane). I was drafted back to diplomacy from private business. I soon found myself Beijing bound. These two capitals, Pretoria and Beijing, were vital in the ensuing diplomatic chessboard of national survival as Harare tussled with London.

There had to be mime and choreography between the ANC and ZANU PF Governments to push back the gathering tropical clouds of war against Harare.

Turned out that Zimbabwe could not have had any better candidate for this onerous diplomatic assignment. Comrade S.K. Moyo fit the mould.

Years of revolutionary engagement since 1968 had honed and tampered him for the task. He had cultivated fail safe bonds from his years of shared cadreship with governing stalwarts of the ANC. He had invaluable rapport with as well as unimpeded personal access to both Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma in succession.

His astute and deft handling of all aspects of the Harare-Pretoria axis shuttered every wedge of divide and rule trickery by the perfidious Bush-Blair Brotherhood of warmongery.

Cde S.K. Moyo mined all in his revolutionary acumen to ensure that the calamity of war never revisited his much loved Zimbabwe homeland. One war had been enough. Another was one too many.

Indeed the pinnacle of his diplomatic exploits were attained in 2004.

Bush visited South Africa brandishing the flag of war against Zimbabwe. Legend says Mbeki had prepared a salutary reception for the buccaneering American President.

On touch down, the visiting American President was whisked straight from his plane to the Presidential Residence. This was well ahead of him receiving doctored briefs.

The hosting President Mbeki lost no time in showing an enthralled Bush a video of a delirious crowd in a Soweto Stadium.

The occasion was the funeral of Comrade Walter Sisulu, the ANC stalwart of the National Liberation Struggle.

The figure of the frenzied adoration among the high profile dignitaries was none other than President Robert Mugabe. He symbolised the unbreakable bonds of the revolutionary twins of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Where after President Mbeki pointedly remarked to President Bush of the dangers of sparking a racial conflagration in the sub region.

He is reported to have starkly warned Bush that long before American and British bombers start raining hellfire on Zimbabwe, the lily-white northern suburbs of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town would be alight in an orgy of racial retribution. The 1960s Belgian Congo racial riots of Katanga would be a toddler’s play to the breakout mayhem.

A war against Zimbabwe would smother the prospects of racial accommodation in the post-racist, post-apartheid era. A chastened George Bush had no option but to demure to Thabo Mbeki. And Tony Blair was beached like a whale.

Such was the high stakes bilateral engagement between America, the only global superpower, and South Africa, a powerful sub regional player.

Comrade Moyo’s subsequent diplomatic years were devoted to a mop-up operation of the schemes and plots of subversion that were spearheaded by the sulking and outwitted jingoists of the West. They craved for regime change by other means to a failed quest for war.

I would get an opportunity to work intimately with Ambassador SK Moyo after I eschewed the opportunity of another ambassadorial assignment to Berlin, Germany.

The good ambassador constantly called on me to fly to Johannesburg as his press hatchet man. He would deploy me into the current affairs studios of media houses that had been infiltrated by the MDC of Zimbabwe, a surrogate of neo-colonialism.

George Soros’ Open Society Institute of Southern Africa was then spearheading the media onslaught against Zimbabwe.

Suffice to say, under his guidance, we scored convincing and decisive victories. It ended with the MDC losing its pride of place in the media circles of South Africa. Its manipulative scheming to influence the population of South Africa to hate Zimbabwe came to naught.

One incident suffices to describe the ensuing media rout. The late Roy Bennett was deployed by the MDC to debate Zimbabwe at SABC Auckland Park studios, Johannesburg. He agreed to be an interlocutor on the programme. He drove all the way to the sentry gates.

In the meantime Ambassador S.K. Moyo had summoned me on a flight from Harare to Johannesburg. On arrival I was rushed to the SABC studios.

All this was unbeknown to the unsuspecting Roy Bennett and his team mates.

On arrival at the sentry gates, Roy Bennett woke to the need to phone and check out his ZANU PF adversary.

The unguarded SABC programme anchor woman blurted out my name to Roy Bennett.

Alas the jaded MDC activist opted to chicken out. He promptly made a U-turn for the exits. Sadly the recording had to wait out for a substitute minion debater from the Johannesburg MDC office.

The ambassadorial tenure of Ambassador Comrade S.K. Moyo hit the high water tide in July 2008. South Africa used its seat in the United Nations Security Council to master mind a veto by Russia and Chinae of an  American and British sponsored resolution under Chapter 7 mandatory sanctions targeting Zimbabwe.

There was a sigh of great relief among the majority of proper thinking
Zimbabwean populace. A collective sigh that a bullet had been dodged. They recalled their years of wage deductions to the cause of the ANC as they principally hosted the national liberation movement. Solidarity was paying off with the hard earned dividend of the domain of national defence and security.

Truly Africa and its Diaspora could now celebrate the material dimension of maturing international diplomacy. Pretoria had score huge. Never again will Africa be a punch bag of post-imperial perfidy.

Clearly, years of the collectivist collaboration in the armed struggle had honed excellent personnel management skills in the venerated diplomat, Ambassador S.K. Moyo.

All said he “fluttered like a diplomatic butterfly and stung like a bee” to paraphrase the legendary black American boxer, Muhammad Ali.

In his varied works for his beloved Zimbabwe, Cde SK Moyo marshalled a fine blend of lifelong revolutionary praxis, his exposure to the proximity of the highest level of political power play, a searching intellectual rigour and ardent patriotic fervour.

All this mustered to save and serve his motherland with utmost grace and dignity. There can never be any better model to savour and emulate than Ambassador S.K. Moyo.

Farewell to a militant combatant, an exquisite diplomat, a loyal cadre, a genuine comrade and above all, a bosom friend.

Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa is a former Cabinet Minister, diplomat and current chairman of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association.

 

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