By Mukudzei Chingwere
Decorated military commander, Brigadier-General Collin Moyo (Retired), who died in Harare last Friday, has been declared a National Hero.
Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri announced the status at Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd)’s house in Harare yesterday.
“He has been declared a National Hero. We cannot tell you when he will be buried. We know that he did not die as a result of Covid-19. His burial is different from those who were Covid-19 positive.
“We are expected to have controlled numbers at the burial, so the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage will give us advice,” she said.
“He fought gallantly for the freedom of this country. He fought so that we can now be Ministers of Defence, so that we can go to universities. It was as a result of his great sacrifices. They were the ones responsible for rescuing others even when it meant diving into rivers, they would do that. We celebrate the work he has done for this country,” she said.
Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd), whose Chimurenga name was Rodwell Nyika, was a military stalwart who retired from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) with nine medals in recognition of his gallantry and meritorious service.
He died at the Haematology Centre in Harare aged 66.
Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd) was born on July 23, 1954 in Mberengwa, Midlands Province, under Chief Mapiravana.
He was the second child in a family of 10 and attended several primary schools in Mberengwa before doing O-Level at Chegato Secondary School in the district.
He grew up in a village environment and as a result of his upbringing, he became conscious of political injustices and that compelled him to join the liberation struggle at 18.
In July 1972, the he joined the liberation struggle in Zambia after going through Botswana.
In Zambia, he and others were met by Zipra leaders such as Cdes Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Alfred Nikita Mangena, Elliot Maseko and Ambrose Mutinhiri who facilitated their movement to Morogoro in Tanzania for military training.
In early 1973, he started training with 83 others under the commander of the training camp Cde Sam Mfakazi and instructors, Cdes Jevan Maseko, Gedi Dube, Dubu Nleya and Stanley Gagisa.
They went through a six-month semi-commando course covering all aspects of guerrilla warfare.
During the course, he was chosen to attend the Zipra Conference of Militants at Zambia’s Mwembeshi Camp.
Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd) was instrumental in the training of over 5 000 recruits at Morogoro Training Camp between 1973 and 1976.
When the Zimbabwe People’s Army (ZIPA) was formed in 1975, he was heavily involved in some joint training among Zipra, Zanla and ANC cadres and his contribution was invaluable.
Zanla recruits and instructors were from Mgagao while some ANC recruits came from Mbagala and Dar-es-Salaam.
During the joint training, he worked with Zanla instructors including current Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, former Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri and the late Major-General Amoth Chingombe, Comrade Dewetewe, Cde Mhuru, Cde Bastern Beta, Cde Liabizva Kuhondo, Cde Grey Tichatonga and others.
He trained Zipra comrades such as current Commander Defence Forces General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Major-General Diye, Major-General N Dube, Lieutenant-General Sibusiso Busi Moyo (Rtd) who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Major General Chiramba and others.
The training team recorded successes up until some disturbances which led to the closure of Morogoro Camp and the setting up of the new training camp at Chakwenga area.
In early 1976, Brig-Gen Moyo was selected to go on a special course in the Soviet Union leading a group of 200 combatants. He went to Moscow and later to Sinferopol in Ukraine for further training.
Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd) returned to Zambia at the end of 1976 and briefly stayed at Freedom Camp from where he was deployed to Feira Luwangwa area as a regional commander.
He shared operations with Zanla forces in such areas as Kanyemba, Chidodo, Mashumbi Pools, Chikafa, Mahuwe and Bakasa north of Guruve.
He also operated in Kachuta, Doma, Rafingora, Mhangura, Mutorashanga, Vhuti, Kazangarare, Mwami, Chindu and Karuru areas in Mashonaland West. His mission was to plan and conduct war operations and to destroy all enemy infrastructure in the area of responsibility. He later became a member of the Revolutionary Council (Dare reChimurenga) and half of the country was under his command.
As Commander northern front, his area of responsibility covered Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North stretching along the Zambezi River from Kazungula, Victoria Falls, Kariba Dam, Chirundu up to Kanyemba.
He commanded over 10 000 armed men and women from his headquarters at the town of Kapfuwe in Zambia.
Under him were three regional commanders who waged the struggle until Independence. The late General commanded the Kavalamanja-Karoro Battle which the Zambians called “Nkondoyamukwezvalamba”.
The battle took place at Kavalamanja village about 30km from Feira along the Zambezi River. The battle was carried out by a combination of ground troops, paratroopers and aircraft. The battle lasted for four days with casualties on both sides.
He also masterminded the attack of Mana Pools Camp by Zipra forces. It was a well planned operation that was conducted by Zipra forces at night and the camp was overrun with many enemy casualties.
At cease fire time Zipra created a reserve force of about a brigade which remained in Zambia. This brigade was part of a contingency plan against the Rhodesians in case things went wrong during the ceasefire period.
The brigade however later went into Papa assembly point where he was the commander.
At Independence, Brig-Gen Moyo was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army and was attached to Headquarters 4 Infantry Brigade as a green board officer together with Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena, the late Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri and Brigadier Gen Abel Mazinyani, Lt Col M. Mpofu and Comrade Deny Murimo. He was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in 1982 and later rose to colonel being promoted to brigadier-general on retirement.
During his career he was deployed in Mozambique in 1992 and Somalia in 1993 as a military observer and attended many military courses.
Brig-Gen Moyo (Rtd) is survived by his wife and six children. The Herald.