Opinion / Columnist
Maverick JZ Moyo dared Joshua Nkomo
15 Jan 2017 at 07:58hrs | Views
TWENTY TWO January will mark 40 years since the death of Jason Ziyapapa Moyo. The maverick Moyo who was Zapu's Vice-President was killed by a parcel bomb in Lusaka, Zambia. His death has been shrouded in controversy with some of the view that it was an inside job while others have attributed it to the Rhodesian intelligence network.
In tribute to Moyo Sunday News through its Lest We Forget column will carry a series of articles on his death. To begin the series we carry a piece that was written by veteran journalist and nationalist Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu.
The article gives an insight into the life of Moyo and also projects him as a fearless individual who did not hesitate to challenge his leader, the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo when he felt things were not been done properly. Below is the article:
January 22, 2017 is the 40th anniversary of the death of Jason Tamuhla Moyo, otherwise popularly known as Jason "Ziyapapa" Moyo, the middle name (in quotes) being a nickname given to him by his schoolmates at Mzingwane Government School because of the way he flayed his arms while running in sports.
JZ was at Mzingwane during the principalship of John Hammond (the junior), a firm disciplinarian and son of the Rev John Hammond, founder of Plumtree High School. Hammond (the junior) was later transferred to Goromonzi still as principal.
JZ became the Mzingwane Government School youngest captain, a record that remained unbroken for more than two decades.
He was one of the most senior and highly respected lieutenants of Joshua Nkomo from the African National Congress days in the 1950s right up to the time he was killed by a parcel bomb on a Saturday morning in Lusaka, Zambia, in January 1977.
JZ Moyo was one of three people who founded the Southern Rhodesia African Trade Union Congress (SRATUC), the predecessor of the Zimbabwe Trade Union Congress (ZCTU) in 1954 in Bulawayo. The other two were Joshua Nkomo and Reuben Jamela. The SRATUC was the decisive in the prosecution of the Zimbabwe liberation struggle.
At the time of his death, JZ was a Patriotic Front (PF) Zimbabwe African People's Union (PF-Zapu) Vice-President in charge of that party's military affairs.
JZ's tragic death occurred about three weeks after an abortive constitutional conference held in Geneva, Switzerland, and chaired by Sir Ivor Richards, Britain's United Nations representative at that time. Representing Zimbabwe at that historic meeting were Dr Joshua Nkomo and President Robert Mugabe, the latter as head of the Zanu (Patriotic Front) delegation, a PF-Zapu ally in the PF.
Other political organisations that attended that conference were the Rhodesian Front led by Ian Douglas Smith, the African National Council of the Rev Abel Muzorewa, and Chief Khayisa Ndiweni's United Federal Party.
Some five years earlier, Zapu had experienced a very serious internal squabble pitying its then Deputy President, James Robert Dambaza Chikerema on one side and JZ Moyo on the other. The crisis generated a lot of acrimony and tension between Chikerema and JZ. The result of that crisis was the departure of Chikerema from Zapu, and his formation of what was called the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (Frolizi) with Chikerema as its president.
Soon thereafter, Zapu and Zanu formed a military alliance known as the Zimbabwe People's Army. (Zipa) headed by the Zanu national chairman, Advocate Hebert Chitepo, as the chairman, and JZ as the secretary. It was while Zipa was still finding its feet that Dr Joshua Nkomo and other detainees were released.
An attempt was made to unite the four nationalist organizations, Zapu, Zanu, the ANC and Frolizi under Rev Muzorewa's leadership. That attempt was made under the auspices of Zambia's President Dr Kenneth Kaunda on 7 December 1974.
Because of personality and political differences, the attempt failed, resulting in Zapu and Zanu pulling out but Frolizi remained as part of the Muzorewa-led ANC.
Dr Joshua Nkomo returned to Zimbabwe to organise an ANC congress which elected him as the ANC President. Following his election to the African National Council's presidency, he decided to engage Ian Smith in discussions about the future of the country.
According to Dr Joshua Nkomo, the only African leaders Ian Smith and his Rhodesian Front colleagues had met before then were traditional chiefs almost all of whom were at that time functionally illiterate. So Dr Nkomo went into talks with Smith to give him an opportunity to hear genuine African political opinion. It was not Dr Nkomo's wish or hope that Smith would, or should, or could convene a constitutional conference to transfer power from the white settler minority to the indigenous masses of Zimbabwe. That was a responsibility of the colonial power, Britain, and not its white settler agent, the Rhodesian regime of Ian Smith.
Dr Nkomo was misunderstood on this and was widely criticised. Among those who severely criticised him was JZ Moyo, a pioneer nationalist who had gone through thick and thin with Dr Nkomo since 1950 when they together with four other patriots visited the Mwali shrine at Dula in Matabeleland South to ask for power and guidance to free the country. They were told that it would take them 30 years to get it back from the white settlers.
From that time, JZ worked closely with Nkomo through two organisations, the African National Congress and the National Democratic Party, both of which were outlawed by the Rhodesian regime before Zapu was formed. Some Zapu officials later broke away to from Zanu, saying that Dr Nkomo's leadership was ineffective.
Following the attainment of independence of Tanzania in 1962 and of Zambia in 1964, both Zapu and Zanu recruited and trained personnel for armed struggle. At the time of JZ's death both Zapu and Zanu had large numbers of guerrilla forces, but the ANC had a very insignificant group comprising some that had gone with Chikerema when he left Zapu, and also a few who had followed Rev Ndabaningi Sithole when he was expelled from Zanu presidency. Rev Sithole had, like Chikerema, also stuck to Rev Muzorewa's ANC.
The frontline states did not think that the fragmented freedom fighters' organisations could be a threat to the Rhodesian regime, nor could they be taken seriously by the world at large. So, they pressurised Zapu and Zanu to unite. They then formed the Patriotic Front in October 1977, a few days before the Geneva Conference began. It was also felt that Zapu and Zanu would be much more effective as a united voice than as separate entities at that conference.
At the Geneva Conference, JZ was openly critical of some of Dr Nkomo's observations during the Patriotic Front-Zapu strategic consultations that preceded meetings between Patriotic Front Zapu and Zanu-PF delegation and the British Government officials.
That was noticed by Dr Nkomo who later called a small Zapu meeting to express his surprise. JZ told him without batting an eyelid that the Zanu delegates did not respect his views because he was what he (JZ) called an anti-revolutionary. Referring him to the meetings he had held with Smith, he asked, "What did you think you would achieve by holding those meetings with Smith? You destroyed the image of Zapu, and now we're finding it very difficult to rebuild it".
Joshua Nkomo replied in his usual cool and calm manner; "I'd continue talking to Smith if I think that that would solve our national problems without further loss of human lives and destruction of property."
At that point JZ left that meeting unceremoniously to show his obvious opposition to Nkomo's accommodating views. A week or two later, JZ was invited to dinner by two members of the British Government's intelligence section. After making all necessary security precautions, he went to a restaurant chosen by him and Zapu security personnel.
The British spies told him that they had information to the effect that were it not for him, the Zapu section of the Patriotic Front could have accepted the British Government's constitutional proposals presented by Sir Ivor Richard's team. JZ told the two spies that the Zapu position on that issue was a collective and not an individual's matter. The conference was adjourned sine die after it had failed to agree on a definite date on which the African majority of Zimbabwe would take over the country's administration.
When the PF-Zapu delegation returned to Zambia, JZ was heard telephoning a woman who was working for a hides and skins company in Botswana. She was known to some Zapu officials and members who were from Bulawayo where she had lived and got married some years earlier.
Her parents were Batswana and had at some time taught at Tegwane (Thekwane) Mission. After getting married in Bulawayo she and her husband left for the United Kingdom and lived for some years in London but later divorced. She thereafter left for her country, Botswana, where she got employed in Francistown.
In the telephone conversation, JZ was heard advising the woman to register the gift parcel she was to send so that it could not be interfered with. A day or two after that telephone conversation with that woman whom he jokingly called "uMasibhikiri", (a derogatory Xhosa name for Hottentots — Khoikhoi), JZ and Joseph Msika, the then PF-Zapu Secretary-General, left for a PF meeting in Maputo in Mozambique.
However, before that high-powered PF-Zapu delegation left Lusaka, a controversy developed between the two leaders. It was about who the head of the delegation was. Msika said as the party's Secretary-General, he was what he termed "PF-Zapu's kingpin," and because of that, therefore, the head of that delegation.
JZ argued that he was the PF-Zapu Vice-President, a position immediately below that of the President. He was thus unquestionably senior to the Secretary-General. The dispute was settled by the party's President, Dr Nkomo, who sided with JZ, an obviously logical decision.
Unconfirmed rumours later said that while in Maputo, JZ telephoned the PF-Zapu office in Lusaka and told the administrative officer, Amos "Jack" Ngwenya (Maluwhewhe), that should a parcel addressed to him come from Botswana, he should not bother testing or screening it as he was expecting it.
(To be continued next Sunday)
Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a retired, Bulawayo-based journalist. He can be contacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Source - sundaynews
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