I don’t claim to know Honourable Minister Lt-Gen Dr SB Moyo (Rtd) for many years.
I have only known him for the three years that we worked together at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
I worked in the Department of Policy Research and Communication that is directly responsible for providing advice to both the Minister and the Permanent Secretary by generating briefs and drafting media responses.
Through that interface, I developed huge professional admiration and respect for Honourable Minister Moyo, a man who was able to transform Zimbabwe’s foreign policy in such a short space of time.
I have no doubt that such privilege of working closely with such a remarkable man gives me some authority to state unequivocally that the man was one of the finest, most able, visionary and foresighted leaders that Zimbabwe has ever produced.
He was a fearless and remarkable person who was loved by many.
We were lucky in the Ministry to spend the last three years with such a legendary human being.
This account is simply to highlight some of his breath-taking achievements, which we were able to witness.
The person who best described the national hero such as Dr SB Moyo was a Jewish philosopher, Ahad Ha’am, who asserted that “men with self-confidence come and see and conquer.”
It is true that in any challenging environment, the wise are those who hold back, weighing up the pros and cons of any action and then make bold and strategic moves to conquer.
This was largely S.B. Moyo’s modus operandi.
He was largely futurist as he set a firm foundation for the modern Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that is premised on economic diplomacy, engagement and re-engagement, Diaspora engagement and public diplomacy.
SB Moyo was full of fascinating insights, but his signature was that of economic diplomacy.
He was burning with the idea that in no time he spearheaded the training of all senior management in his Ministry so that they grasped the necessary competencies.
His goal was to build knowledge in his staff so that they understand markets abroad for them to deliver opportunities for businesses to benefit from the forces of globalisation.
He also took his vision to the private sector when he visited most of the exporting companies across the country so that they utilise market intelligence that the Ministry possesses and engage in international trade to grow export sales for the benefit of our economy.
Despite initial resistance to the idea, many started to understand his vision and the rationale of bringing the international trade portfolio under one roof with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The idea was mainly to integrate the exporting companies with the Ministry for them to utilise Zimbabwe’s embassies abroad that possess market intelligence necessary for these companies to thrive.
Dr Moyo was also passionate with the engagement and re-engagement policy.
We were able to see him in action as he set very high standards for himself, as he was determined to normalise relations with the West.
His objective was to bring back Zimbabwe into the international community to claim its rightful position as a responsible member of such a community.
At the Ministry, we owe to him that re-engagement does not mean waiting for those you want to re-engage to make mistakes so that you can condemn them.
Re-engagement means trust-building and confidence-building gestures. It means empathy and understanding.
SB Moyo did not want the nation to take its eyes away from the ball.
For him, the nation was supposed to keep focused on the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The nation can only remember and honour him by completing what he started.
He laid the foundation and someone should come to complete what he started.
In other words, the foundation that SB Moyo laid in the Ministry had already opened Zimbabwe to the outside world and should see the country on an unprecedented national growth in the coming few years.
If we implement what he started and establish an export-driven economy, Zimbabwe should be ready to play a significant role in the world’s economy and social development.
Zimbabwe should be ready for an unprecedented economic take-off following SB Moyo’s bold adoption of economic diplomacy. He opened the country’s economy for business with the outside world.
Dr SB Moyo was aware that Zimbabwe’s strength abroad depended increasingly on its ability to harness its Diaspora.
In that area, his legacy was his love to engage all the Zimbabweans abroad so that they invest back home.
The London incident largely occurred because of his determination to fight self-destructive policy initiatives that revolve around polarisation.
His goal was to eradicate Zimbabwe’s increasingly partisan political environment that makes it difficult to advance the national interest.
He understood that the crucial asset for Zimbabwe is its citizens.
This is why Diaspora engagement was central to his vision.
Minister SB Moyo’s story will never be complete without mentioning his ability to nurture talent.
He had an affinity for highly talented persons as he was aware that the more talented people that he had around him, the more effective his policies were and the better the results.
Like Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, SB Moyo was a disciple of meritocracy and he realised that talent is a country’s most precious asset.
He was determined to overcome the Ministry’ talent pool that was aggravated by inflexible bureaucratic laws that did not give him enough room and have a wider choice to select his team.
In other words, SB Moyo understood that if Zimbabwe does not value talent and merit, it will not make it into the best world economies or even among the best African economies.
The late retired General shall also be remembered for building the Ministry’s public diplomacy.
He single-handedly spearheaded the Ministry’s social media platforms.
Above all, he engaged all the media, either State-run or privately run; either local or international.
He did not discriminate as he encouraged competition.
He was aware of the prominent role played by all media networks both electronic and print in our domestic debate.
By and large we had high regard for Minister SB Moyo, one of the most effective Ministers that we have known.
He was the very symbol of our diplomacy who transformed Zimbabwe’s foreign policy into a vibrant and proactive one.
He did a wonderful job for Zimbabwe and his vision was respected even outside the country as most regarded him as an emerging world leader.
This has been witnessed by the outpouring of condolence messages coming from the international community.
Indeed, the late retired General left a solid strategic vision for the country and a lasting imprint on our country’s foreign policy trajectory.
Go well our dear leader!
Fambai murugare gamba redu!
Hamba kahle qhawe lamaqhawe!
Livit Mugejo is a deputy director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade responsible for Policy, Research and Communication. The views expressed here are personal.