I knew Jason ZIYAPHAPHA MOYO, when I joined the National Democratic Party (NDP) in 1960, after my agricultural course at Tsholotsho Breeding and Experimental Station.
The relationship between the Party Leadership and it’s Youth was very close and strong. The Youth travelled with various leaders including Jason Moyo, through out the country, where close relationship were established, and developed.
One of the Resolutions of the ZAPU Congress, at the Cold Comfort Farm, in August 1963, under the guise of the People’s Caretaker Council (PCC) was to directly engage the Rhodesian establishment with the arms of war, code named as a Special Affairs programme.
Southern Rhodesian then a British, Colony sent two military units to fight with the Commonwealth armed forces in the Malayan Emergency against the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA) the military arm of Malayan Communist Party.
One of the task of the Rhodesian Military Personnel, who included Peter Walls and others, was to study the tactics of Communists Guerrilla forces as Rhodesia was under a threat of a similar situation.
Therefore, the simple mention of the word armed struggle, was treasonable in Southern Rhodesia. But the mention of Special Affairs, instead of the armed struggle had no military meaning, but simple administrative. William Mukarate was appointed as Chairman of the Special Affairs Committee. But he did not join the external wing of ZAPU, as he remained inside the country.
Jason Moyo, who was very close to the military, had received his militatry training in the Soviet Union. He was well respected by the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and was always invited to attend the Congresses of the Communist Party.
We attended a number of meetings together including the first meeting between ZAPU and ZANU, after the split of 1963, in Mbeya, during the formation of the Joint Military Command (JMC) in 1972;
We attended the OAU Ad-hoc Committee, in 1973, on the Unity between ZAPU and ZANU. In that meeting, ZAPU, had just come out of an internal crisis, and ZANU was demanding that ZAPU should be disbanded, and its members should join ZANU as individuals.
However two years down the line, ZANU was in more serious problems, especially after the death of Herbert Chitepo. The entire external Leadership of ZANU was arrested by the Zambian Government, accussed of master minding the death of Chitepo.
- Moyo, was tasked by the Revolutionary Council to lead a three (3) men delegation to meet the Leadership of ZANU that was in prison. The delegation included Lookout Masuku- and Phelekezela Mphoko, and its main purpose was to save ZANU from total collapse, through the formation of the Zimbabwe Peoples Army (ZIPA).
JZ Moyo and myself both attended the Victoria Falls Bridge Conference in August 1975.
Just before his death on 22 January 1977, J.Z. as Vice-President, led a three men delegation to Maputo which included Joseph Msika and George Silundika.
After the official meeting of the Liberation Movements in Maputo, as the norm, we visited Embassies of our friends in Maputo, including the Soviet, GDR, Cuba, Vietnam, Hungary, and ended with the Zambian Ambassador, Sikasula, who died in President Samora Machel’s plane.
The delegation was scheduled to return to Lusaka Zambia, on Friday 21 January 1977. J.Z. requested that he wanted to speak to Jack Amos Ngwenya, in Lusaka, We went to my house to book a call to Lusaka.
When the call went through, Moyo, instructed Ngwenya, that he was expecting a parcel from his Masibikili. He emphasised that it was his parcel and was aware of it. Therefore it doesn’t have to go for scanning. He Moyo will collect it from Ngwenya, whom he constantly was calling him “Maluhwehwe”. Ngwenya assured Moyo, that he will do as requested.
It turned out that that parcel was not an innocent present but a bomb that killed him instantly.
After the death of JZ Moyo, many things changed within ZAPU, and ZAPU’s International support.