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Zipra's Sharpshoot denied National Hero Status

by Staff reporter
24 Mar 2023 at 06:23hrs | Views
THE late liberation stalwart David Mongwa Moyo has been conferred a State-assisted funeral in honour of his contribution before and after independence and will be buried at the Bulawayo Provincial Heroes' Acre in Nkulumane on Sunday.

Moyo (97), also known as Sharpshoot, died at Mpilo Central Hospital last Saturday.

He is one of the pioneers of the armed struggle having participated in the struggle in the early 1960s.

Zanu-PF Politburo member Tshinga Dube (right) at David ‘Sharpshoot' Moyo's funeral yesterday

The  Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951 forced Moyo to challenge the oppressive white regime as he witnessed Africans being removed from their ancestral lands, and forced to de-stock while those who resisted were persecuted.

This prompted Moyo to be involved in sabotage works, including destroying dip tanks.

He is among the cadres who joined forces with African National Congress (ANC) military wing Umkhonto WeSizwe in the Wankie Battle in 1968.

The only surviving member of a group of 10 Zipra guerrillas who fought alongside Sharpshoot, Zanu-PF Politburo member Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, conveyed the message to the family yesterday on behalf of the ruling party's secretary for administration, Dr Obert Mpofu.

"His Excellency, the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF has conferred a State-assisted liberation war hero status to the late David Mongwa Moyo who died on March 18, 2023, and would be buried at the provincial heroes acre in Bulawayo," read a letter signed by Dr Mpofu.

Rtd Col Dube said as senior party leaders in the province, they saw it fit that Moyo be conferred the national hero status. He, however, said the recommendation letter from the province didn't reach the Presidium on time.

"But nevertheless, a decision has been taken by the party leadership and we accept and embrace it," said Rtd Col Dube.

He told members of the family and mourners that his personal wish was to see Moyo being laid to rest at Lady Stanley Cemetery where Zipra commander Lieutenant General Lookout Masuku is buried.

"I had since written to the Bulawayo City Council requesting that honour and the city fathers had agreed. However, the family asked for a moment to deliberate on the burial site and they settled for Nkulumane Provincial Heroes Acre," said Rtd Col Dube.

Moyo's son, Diliza Moyo said they felt it was proper for their father to be buried at a provincial shrine to join other liberation war heroes.

"We appreciate that other Zipra stalwarts including Lookout Masuku himself are buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery, but they certainly do not deserve to be lying there because that site is not for war veterans only," he said.

"As a family, we felt our father should lie with fellow comrades who took up arms to fight the oppressive white minority regime."

Diliza thanked Zanu-PF and Government for rendering assistance to the family.

He said Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube constantly checked on Moyo when he was admitted to Mpilo Central Hospital.

Sharpshoot was born in June 1925 in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province.

He did his primary education at Simpathe and Bango schools before enrolling at Inyathi Mission in Bubi for his secondary education. It was during his time at Inyathi Mission that he stood out as a competent athlete.

Following the enactment of the Native Land Husbandry Act of 1951, Moyo became involved in politics in his rural home in Kezi after leaving his job in Bulawayo by resisting colonial laws and policies.

Working with his homeboys among them the late National Hero, Velaphi, they started making home explosives and attacking white-owned installations. Those were the days of sabotage.

With Rhodesians hot on his trail Moyo skipped the border into Zambia to join the liberation struggle. He was sent for military training in North Korea together with other pioneer combatants such as the former Governor of Manicaland, Tineyi Chigudu and Lazarus Dhlakama. After his military training, Moyo was deployed in the then Rhodesia together with former Cabinet Minister, Colonel (Retired) Tshinga Dube aka Embassy in a unit of 10 guerillas and they operated in Tsholotsho and Bulilima districts. Col (Rtd) Dube was the unit's communications officer.

Their unit was on a reconnaissance mission and it is the one that laid the groundwork for the Zapu-ANC of South Africa joint operations of 1967 which is known as the Wankie Campaign. Their unit which managed to remain on the ground for a year during which it was involved in sporadic contacts with the enemy studied the activities of the Rhodesians and also mapped the routes which were to be used by the Zapu-ANC guerillas.

The late liberation war stalwart had five children, and three of his children Diliza, Michael Shadreck and his only daughter Sibonakaliso joined him in the liberation struggle having had enough of harassment by whites who were constantly nagging the family as a result of their father's military activities.

Last year a South Africa-based local businessman and proprietor of Ngamla Enterprises, Mr Mpumelelo Phiri renovated and extended Moyo's house as a way of honouring freedom fighters as their contributions provided a conducive environment for young black entrepreneurs.

In June 2019, the First Lady, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa also visited Moyo at his Emganwini home.

Mourners are gathered at House Number 4884 in Emganwini suburb. Moyo is survived by his wife and two sons, Diliza and Melusi.

Source - The Chronicle