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Ex-Zipra cadres eulogise SB Moyo

by Staff reporter
21 Jan 2021 at 06:31hrs | Views
FOREIGN Affairs and International Trade Minister Major-General (Rtd) Dr Sibusiso Moyo (SB), was yesterday described as a brave and intelligent soldier whose military prowess both during and after the country's liberation struggle was unparalleled.

Former Zipra cadres who worked with him yesterday gave detailed accounts of how they either trained with or were trained by the late Minister during the liberation struggle.

Dr Moyo was part of a group of about 400 pupils, recruited by Zipra forces from Manama High School in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South, who crossed into Zambia via Botswana to join the liberation struggle in January 1977.

He was recruited together with his classmates that included former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) director Albert Nguluvhe, Ishmael Godfrey Moyo and Airforce of Zimbabwe Commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo who was a year their senior.

Others included former Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa who was their junior, Mercy Sibanda the wife of the Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Phillip Valerio Sibanda and many others. Nguluvhe, who is now Zanu-PF Beitbridge East legislator, said Dr Moyo was his friend with whom he shared the same desk at Manama High School.

He described him as a very intelligent and disciplined pupil.

"We started Form One together with Dr Moyo at Manana High until the time when we left for Botswana when we were about to start Form Three in January 1977. We set off using a path leading to Tuli until we reached a shop owned by a local who gave the Zipra fighters food supplies," said Nguluvhe.

"The following day, we crossed Shashe River into Botswana then in Nampundwe, Zambia where we stayed together and opened CGT Camp and did basic military training together under current Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Philip Valerio Sibanda."

Nguluvhe said after training they parted ways as he went for further training in Bulgaria.

"We only met after 1980 when he was in the Zimbabwe National Army and I was in the CIO and we continued with our friendship. I remember in 1992 when I was deployed in Gweru as officer in charge of closed security circuit in the Midlands Province we would occasionally meet and he was at ZMA," he said.

"He was my personal and family friend and we used to frequently meet during our stay at Government houses at Kopje suburb in Gweru."

Nguluvhe said even as Dr Moyo continued to rise through the ranks in the military, they continued interacting as friends.

"I remember we would meet and drink at his bar in Harare together with Godwin Matanga (Police Commissioner-General). I also used to visit him at his farm until I left the CIO and even when I left for Beitbridge, we would meet in Parliament and talk," he said.

"His death is coming as a shock and I have lost a good friend and a scholar and I was not surprised when he got his PhD. Even when he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, he handled that ministry very well, particularly looking at his engagement and reengagement efforts."

Lieutenant-Colonel (Rtd) Collen Ndlovu said Dr Moyo was instrumental in establishing Zipra military camps in Zambia.

"We underwent an intensive six months training at CGT Military Camp in Zambia under the tutelage of General Philip Valerio Sibanda. Other instructors who trained us include the likes of the late (National Hero) Stanley 'Gagisa' Nleya and after training we were selected to be instructors of Zipra cadres," he said.

"We helped establish several training camps such CGT 1 and 2, Fox Hall, Maheba and Solwezi in the northern part of Zambia where we trained Zipra Cadres."

Lt-Col Ndlovu said he and Dr Moyo remained behind in Zambia when others entered the country in 1977 as they continued training other Zipra cadres until 1979.

"We trained recruits and deployed them to the battlefields and we produced the cream of Zipra fighters who operated in Chinhoyi, Gokwe, Hurungwe. Other instructors that we worked with included the likes of late Lieutenant -Colonel Abednico Shoko, Lieutenant -Colonel Leonard Gwanzura and others," he said.

According to Lt-Col (Rtd) Ndlovu, Dr Moyo specialised in tactical exercise and physical training and was one of the senior instructors who used to direct other training officers in terms of how they carried out their duties.

Lt-Col (Rtd) Ndlovu said after ceasefire, he met Dr Moyo at the Romeo Assembly Point in Chinhoyi. From there, they were taken to Gweru for integration into the national army as part of the Zipra and Zanla High Command.

"We were the first group of officers who were taken to Guinea Fowl training camp in Gweru with SB. While there, Rhodesian army officers didn't want guerrilla commanders from both Zipra and Zanla to join the Zimbabwe National Army as commissioned officers," he said.

"They stripped us of our ranks and reduced us to Privates, Lance-Corporals, which are non-commissioned ranks and made us fall under former Rhodesian Forces."

Lt-Col (Rtd) Ndlovu said Dr Moyo was one of the few officers who stood up and challenged the attempt by Rhodesians to neutralise officers from both Zipra and Zanla who were categorised under non-commissioned officers.

"We fought at Guinea Fowl until the High Command held a meeting as they refused to train us as commissioned officers and we were with the likes of Brigadier Nyikayaramba, Colonel Gutu and Major Mpofu among others," he said.

"We vowed to return to the bush and SB stood his ground. Our group was removed from Guinea Fowl and taken to ZNA army headquarters where British soldiers were training ex-guerillas so that they could be integrated into national army and we were over 500.

"After the screening exercise, SB was among the best and he came out a Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel Bonyongwe became Colonel and was appointed the commanding officer of their unit 2.2 Battalion."

Lt-Col (Rtd) Ndlovu said he had a strong bond with Dr Moyo which dated back to the days of their training in Zambia.



Source - chronicle

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