Harare (New Ziana) – Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General (Rtd) Sibusiso Moyo died of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced in a statement.
“His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa regrets to announce the passing on early this morning of DR SB Moyo our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,” Acting chief secretary to the President and Cabinet George Charamba said in a statement.
“The late Minister succumbed to COVID-19 at a local hospital. The nation will be kept apprised of further developments regarding this untimely demise of the late Minister, himself a decorated soldier and freedom fighter.”
Moyo rose to prominence during Operation Restore Legacy in November 2017 that weeded out some elements in top positions in government which had illegally assumed executive power from the late former President Robert Mugabe, taking advantage of his advanced age.
He played a key role in the operation, and became the face of it after routinely appearing on television to announce its progress.
Later, he swapped military fatigues for civilian life as Zimbabwe’s top diplomat.
From 2017 until his demise, Moyo led the country’s new engagement and re-engagement policy meant to end Zimbabwe’s isolation following clashes with former colonial power Britain over land reforms.
Britain and her Western allies opposed Zimbabwe’s compulsory take-over of excess farmland from white farmers, who owned the bulk of the country’s prime agricultural land, to resettle landless peasants.
After Harare’s refusal to back down on the issue, London and her allies imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, and led a diplomatic campaign to isolate the country internationally.
Moyo’s first task as foreign affairs minister was to re-engage friends and foes alike to reset relations, and the country has since been re-embraced by much of the world.