The Sunday Mail
As Zimbabwe prepares for the 2023 harmonised elections, President Mnangagwa has reiterated his call for tolerance and peace, saying constructive criticism and divergent views can spur national development.
He said this yesterday at the memorial service of national hero and liberation war stalwart, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, who succumbed to cancer last year.
Ambassador Khaya Moyo, President Mnangagwa said, was a beacon of unity, and the nation must honour his legacy by conducting peaceful elections.
“Furthermore, constructive criticism, as well as divergent views in the political, economic and social spheres must drive us towards a culture of tolerance, non-violence and peace,” he said.
“This is more critical as the nation prepares for the 2023 harmonised general elections.”
The President described Ambassador Khaya Moyo as a revered diplomat, who played a critical role in establishing good relations between Zimbabwe and other friendly countries after independence.
“A seasoned diplomat, the late Ambassador Khaya Moyo engaged a number of diplomatic missions, which saw us receive support from our brothers and sisters in the SADC, AU (African Union) and beyond,” he said.
“When we felt we needed to improve our relations with South Africa, and the ANC government there, it was decided that we needed not a career diplomat but a political diplomat. So, Cde Mugabe and Cde Muzenda had a discussion and it was agreed that only SK could carry out such a mission, because we were looking for somebody who was acceptable there, but whom the leadership back home had complete confidence that he would articulate our position and promote relations between us and ANC.”
Despite his rich liberation credentials, President Mnangagwa added, the late hero remained selfless and never canvassed for leadership positions in ZANU PF or Government.
“His wit, humour, kind and patient demeanour, which were usually accompanied with his warm smile, endeared him to many across the socio-economic and political strata,” he said.
“Youthful cadres within the party must learn from this rich legacy and avail themselves to serve loyally and consistently. Be prepared to go through the mill, continuously learning so that you are thoroughly prepared to serve in positions of responsibility.”
Despite his proximity to leadership and influence, Ambassador Khaya Moyo shunned corruption, the President said.
“He never used his proximity to the leadership to advance self-interests or counter-revolutionary agenda.
“I, thus, challenge public servants across every level to emulate the traits of the late Cde SK Moyo. Corruption and other unethical behaviours are counter-productive and alien to the Second Republic’s performance and results-oriented culture.”
He challenged the youth to safeguard the gains of the armed struggle, which were brought about by sacrifices made by liberation war heroes.
“Let us all reject and resist the machinations of detractors, including their illegal economic sanctions, among other asymmetrical war antics,” he said.
The President said the courage and consistency demonstrated by Ambassador Khaya Moyo in his role as ZANU PF national chairperson must be a source of inspiration to every citizen.
Apart from being colleagues, President Mnangagwa and Ambassador Khaya Moyo were friends.
“I met Cde SK quite early in the 1970s. We worked more closely during Lancaster negotiations in 1979, but we had met earlier during political conferences. I was a special assistant to former President Robert Mugabe, while former Vice President Dr Nkomo had Ariston Chambati and SK as his assistants,” he added.
“Chambati was a bit older, so myself and SK naturally became friends because we were almost of the same age. After Independence in 1980, this is only known to me, SK, Cde Mugabe and Cde Nkomo, when there were negotiations between ZANU and ZAPU, the negotiations were being conducted at two levels.
“President Mugabe and Cde Nkomo were doing negotiations while the rest of the other members of the parties did not know. Only SK and I knew this.”
President Mnangagwa said private correspondence between Cdes Mugabe and Nkomo brought him and Ambassador Khaya Moyo closer.
“Cde Mugabe would send me to Highfield in the evening with a message to Cde Nkomo, and it was SK who took me to him. Likewise, SK would be sent to Cde Mugabe by Cde Nkomo and I would also take him to the former President,” he said.
“So my friendship with SK is more personal and it goes back a long way. When the negotiations were then brought to a formal and open forum, SK and I would already know what was going to be discussed.”
Speaking at the same event, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the fact that President Mnangagwa decided to attend the memorial service in person speaks volumes of his relationship with Ambassador Khaya Moyo.
“He could have sent a representative but he came himself to the home of the Moyo family, and that shows you what kind of a man Ambassador Khaya Moyo was,” he said.
“So we are gathered here today to console Amai Moyo and the Moyo family for their loss. But it was not a loss to the Moyo family only but Zimbabwe as a whole.
“It’s a day for those who have known, who have heard and who have worked with SK to remember him.”
Ambassador Moyo’s widow, Mrs Margaret Moyo, thanked President Mnangagwa for assisting them with settling medical bills when the late national hero was being treated for cancer in India.
“After the doctors in South Africa told us to seek a second opinion in India, we didn’t know what to do because we didn’t have the money that they wanted,” she said.
“So he (Ambassador Moyo) said let me go and talk to His Excellency, and all I can say to the President is thank you, because within a week we were in India. You gave all the support you could and for that I thank you.”
Senior Government officials and ZANU PF members attended the event.