BY MOSES MATENGA
ZANU PF spokesperson and former Cabinet minister Simon Khaya Moyo has died. He was 76.
“The family has confirmed the sad news to us. It is very tragic and I am really shocked,” the party’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu told NewsDay yesterday.
“The party will give a statement on the demise of the party spokesperson, who has been unwell for some time and was taken to different countries, including India, for medical treatment.”
Moyo, a key figure in the ruling Zanu PF party politics, survived several factional-related purges. He is believed to have succumbed to cancer at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
The former Zanu PF national chairman was heavily involved in internal factional fights during the days of the late former President Robert Mugabe, where he was linked to a faction then led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, known by the moniker, Gamatox.
While dozens of those linked to Mujuru were purged by Mugabe, Moyo, who was tipped to take over as Vice-President, survived.
From 2007 to 2011, Moyo was Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa.
He also served as Information minister in October 2017, taking over from Christopher Mushowe.
However, he was later re-assigned to work full-time at the Zanu PF party headquarters after the 2018 elections.
Since 2018, he had been serving as the party spokesperson and as Matabeleland South senator.
On November 6, 2017, as Information minister, Moyo announced the firing of Mnangagwa from government, for “lacking probity” and incompetence during the last days of Mugabe.
On November 14, 2017, Moyo, who was also Zanu PF spokesperson, accused then Commander of the Defence Forces and now Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga of treason after he threatened military intervention to stop the purges on Mnangagwa and his loyalists by Mugabe.
Just over a week later, Moyo was ironically tasked by Zanu PF to announce the ouster of Mugabe and the return of Mnangagwa as his replacement to lead the party.
Moyo survived the purges that followed and was given a post as minister in the President’s Office, before being assigned to a full-time post at the Zanu PF headquarters.
He joined the then Zimbabwe African People’s Union in 1968 and received military training in Russia and Cuba.
Since independence, Moyo served in various capacities, including being an assistant secretary in the Home Affairs ministry and undersecretary in the Justice ministry in 1989.
He also previously served as Energy minister.
Moyo was also one of the Zanu PF officials that were placed on the United States sanctions list in 2003.