Obert Moses Mpofu
Discerning what the future bears in any political setting is a torrid task.
The events of November 2017 which culminated in the birth of the New Dispensation and consequently the Second-Republic offer a more pragmatic revelation of this proposition.
Of course, in any revolution situation — as was the case with our civil-military aided transition, one would have not expected events to follow a normal routine.
A hero and villain in the tide of change?
On the 6 November, 2017, Ambassador Cde Simon Khaya Moyo announced the dismissal of the then Vice President — now President and First Secretary of Zanu PF, Cde Mnangagwa.
On November 14, 2017, after stripping Cde Mnangagwa his executive honour, Cde SK (as he was affectionately known) had to read out a statement that lamented the intervention of the military in what turned out to be a people-driven call for a smooth political transition.
This became evident through the spontaneity of events which were climaxed by the resignation of the late former president, Cde Robert Mugabe.
Thereafter, the fired Vice President Mnangagwa returned to incumbency as the Head of State.
I make reference to the enigmatic outlook of the events of November 2017 in this piece about my late friend because he was the mouthpiece of the institutional friction which had rudely confronted Zanu PF.
He became the authoritative source of the ticklish Zanu PF succession issue by virtue of announcing the firing of Cde Mnangagwa on behalf of Cde Mugabe.
The mysterious character of the November 2017 events was also linked to the enigma that Cde Simon Khaya Moyo was.
An omission of that fact about our contemporary history would be grossly mischievous.
He was an epitome of complicated simplicity by virtue of being both a mouthpiece of dismissals and reinstatements which decided the leadership question in both the party and Zimbabwe at large.
This particular attribute defined his career sunset.
Even prior to November 2017, his name prominently features in the major factional discourses of Zanu PF politics.
However, in the post-factional epoch of Zanu PF politics under the unitary leadership of His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo remained a pivot of charisma as he was appointed the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services in the Second Republic.
In his retirement from the Government as publicity minister, he was elevated to a full-time Secretary for Information and Publicity in the Party.
Like many of us deployed to the party as full-time heads of departments, Cde SK was awarded the proverbial ‘‘Order of Merit’’ for serving the nationalist movement with distinction.
As Secretary for Information and Publicity, he was among the other esteemed veteran loyalists of the party.
His work in professionalising the party will never go unnoticed. He was a disciplined servant of the people who was committed to ensuring that the supremacy of the party was realised.
To this end, he was declared a national hero — a well-deserved honour for a person who dedicated himself to being a career revolutionary.
Ambassador Moyo’s return to the Cabinet and Politburo after November 2017 places an emphatic proof of the corrective agenda behind Operation Restore Legacy.
His reinstatement displays the merit of reconstruction over the imagined punitive mischaracterisation of Zanu PF’s 2017 self-cleansing process.
However, it is hard to refute that this self-cleansing process had to target individuals.
Even though some could have easily linked Cde SK Moyo to the retrogressive G40 element in Zanu PF given his role during the most politically fragile moment of November 2017, he was never a target of elimination for Zanu PF’s self-cleansing act of 2017.
It was understood that he was acting under the influence of the most insensitive realities of a precarious phase to transition.
Cde SK Moyo’s unwavering loyalty to the party, which was consistent with the transitional impulse of November 2017, sustained his political relevance.
t is a historical fact that the late nationalist only served the cause of African nationalism throughout his life.
He knew no other employer except the revolution — to which he was conscripted to as a teenager.
Immediately after high school, Ambassador Moyo joined the rank and file of ZAPU comrades in Zambia. He also became a fully subscribed and consistent member of the revolutionary movement during his days at Makerere University.
After acquiring his first tertiary accolade, Ambassador Moyo was identified by the top ZAPU brass for his refined political messaging skills.
By 1975 after his release from detention, the late Father Zimbabwe Cde Joshua Nkomo appointed Ambassador Moyo as his Special Assistant. He was the man responsible for writing Dr Nkomo’s speeches and performed the delicate functions as an executive aide to the man who initiated Zimbabwe’s seminal anti-colonial political mobilisation.
Therefore, there was no way he could turn back and scorn the gains of the struggle for political expedience.
He understood the power of respecting popular political will and protocol.
As a result, he did not sensationalise his successive missed opportunities to vice presidency since 2014 although the Unity Accord afforded him the opportunity for that appointment consideration. By 2017, it was known that he was never going to fall for the pittances that came with a hunger for power.
Cde Khaya Moyo earned this sense of discipline from his revolutionary foregrounding at a tender age.
A mouthpiece of the revolution and career revolutionary
Ambassador Moyo’s role as the chief of staff to Dr Nkomo exposed him to the delicacies and top-notch secrets of the armed struggle from a ZAPU/ZIPRA standpoint.
As the chief correspondent to the then ZAPU president, Father Zimbabwe, Cde Moyo was given unfettered access to all classified information linked to the armed struggle.
He is a man who was privileged to know the political under-world.
This background is useful in appreciating Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo’s role in the November 2017 transitional process.
He became a mouthpiece of all manifestations of bitterness and tension within Zanu PF. Ambassador Moyo was also the mouthpiece of integration — entrusted by the prevailing forces of change to give charisma to the spirit of the civil-military aided transition of November 2017.
Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo is a man whose political survival was grounded on his reputation as a sober intellectual who was not fixated on dirty politicking.
This is exactly what guaranteed his tenure in office at the mercy of the man he had issued a statement of public service termination.
It was understood that the ambassador had acted under the intuition of the political underworld and the urgency of the balance of forces at the material time.
This clearly depicts the magnitude of enigma which defined his active professional involvement in politics. On this basis, it is reasonable to argue that Cde Moyo’s career depended more on his etiquette.
What a dignified sunset!!!
At the same time, the balance of forces in the face of political contradictions also relied on his clean propaganda etiquette to deliver contentious political messages.
As one looks back at Cde Simon Khaya Moyo’s last days, it can be reasonable to argue that every revolutionary process like that of 2017 requires a modicum of political moderation which he embodied.
Through his entanglement in the world of political mystery, he disseminated the blow by blow of what has left many confused on what was unfolding behind the scenes as the New Dispensation was being brought to life.
By way of coincidence, the ambassador is promoted to glory in the exact anniversary week of his enigmatic feature in the delivery of Operation Restore Legacy.
Sadly, he leaves without telling us what was really happening in the political underworld of that November we are all dared to remember.
While it is sad to come to terms with the fact that Cde SK has been elevated to glory, there is every reason to celebrate that the Almighty retired him in the month he left a lasting mark in the history of Zimbabwe.
While he joins the higher world, he leaves his fellow comrades celebrating the third anniversary of Operation Restore Legacy.
Therefore, Cde SK will never die. Instead of mourning we celebrate the enigma, he was in delivering Operation Restore Legacy.
He elegantly played his part during his tenure as a lifetime employee of the anti-colonial struggle.
Go well Mfowethu!
◆ Dr Obert Moses Mpofu is Zanu PF’s Secretary for Administration in the Politburo.