THE body of the late veteran politician and Zanu PF national spokesperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, arrived in Harare yesterday ahead of his burial at the National Heroes Acre tomorrow.
Cde Khaya Moyo (76) died at Mater Dei hospital in Bulawayo last Sunday after succumbing to cancer and was declared a national hero.
Before coming to Harare, a send-off ceremony was held in Bulawayo to honour the late nationalist.
On arrival at Manyame Airbase in Harare, the body was accompanied by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage permanent secretary, Mr Aaron Nhepera, Cde Khaya Moyo’s family led by his widow Mrs Margaret Moyo, ZANU PF officials who included deputy political commissar Cde Omega Hungwe and acting deputy secretary for the Youth League, Cde Tendai Chirau.
From Manyame Airbase, the body was transferred to One Commando Barracks where it will lie in state until burial.
A church service was held at the barracks.
Addressing mourners at the service, Mr Nhepera said the country had lost a hero who was a friend to everyone.
“He had a blessing of making friends. I don’t think there’s ever a time that he made enemies with anyone. He loved people and he will be remembered for that,” he said.
Mr Nhepera said the Government will today accompany the Khaya Moyo family to view the site where the former Cabinet Minister and diplomat will be interred.
Mr Nhepera said President Mnangagwa will preside over tomorrow’s burial, with proceedings set to start at 9:30am.
In an interview on the side-lines of the procession, Cde Khaya Moyo’s son, Khanyisa, said he was grateful to the Government, ZANU PF and President Mnangagwa for declaring his father a national hero.
“We gather he was unanimously declared a national hero without any reservations. We received a lot of support from the Government since the time of his death including going to our rural home in Sanzukwe in Plumtree and now we are in Harare where we are waiting to bury him. We are very grateful; the man was loved by everyone.”
Information, Communication, Technology, Postal and Courier Services Deputy Minister, Dingimuzi Phuti, who hails from the same district with Cde Khaya Moyo in Bulilima West, described him as a straight forward man.
“He was a man of many talents. He was a unifier because he loved unity. He was straight forward, he hated corruption, he was a disciplinarian that’s why he fitted well in the diplomatic circles. He was patriotic and didn’t look aside from the time he served in Government from Independence,” said Cde Phuti.
“When he served as Ambassador to South Africa, it was during the time the country was under attack from regime-change forces but he stood in the middle of the thicket defending his country. The fact that in Matabeleland South we won 100 percent constituencies shows that he was a man of astute leadership. He was a candid man who always spoke the truth. He remained a humble man despite holding various high ranking positions in Government and the party.”
Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Management Minister, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, who is also Member of Parliament for Bulilima East, said:
“Obviously we have lost a giant, an epitome of dedication, hard work, loyal cadre-ship and patriotism. He went to the struggle at a tender age of 23 and until his death he was loyal. There have been hardships but he remained steadfast, loyal and patriotic”.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu, who was with Cde Khaya Moyo during the liberation struggle, described him as an oasis of knowledge and intelligence.
“He was our Senator. We relied very much on his wise counsel as the two districts he represented in the Senate. He was our leader at provincial level, he would give wise counsel at provincial meetings.
“I started to know him when we were in Zambia as he would come to the camps accompanying our leader General Josh (the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo). I got close to him when I came back to the country in 1984. He was very intelligent and calm. I never heard anyone saying he quarrelled with them. He was humble and a good listener that is why he was our party’s spokesperson. He would listen to you and after deep thought he would give you a response.”