FORMER Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Manicaland provincial elections officer and decorated war veteran, Cde Moffat Masabeya who died recently was declared a liberation war hero and buried at the provincial shrine.
Born on August 8, 1954 in Chimanimani District, Retired Colonel Masabeya served in various capacities in the Zimbabwe National Army before retiring and being appointed as the provincial elections officer, a position he held from 2007 to 2020.
Cde Masabeya attained his primary education at Tilbury Primary School before enrolling for his secondary education at Biriiri Secondary School.
In 1972, he was employed by Rhodesia Forestry Commission, now the Zimbabwe Forestry Commission, where he became active in politics after being influenced by the Voice for the People Radio which broadcasted liberation movements stories from Zambia.
Cde Masabeya left the country for Botswana in March 1974 to take up arms and fight the Rhodesian regime.
On arrival in Botswana, he was arrested together with his colleagues and kept in remand prison since there were no liberation movement camps in Botswana.
They were later released in 1975 before being taken to Zambia’s Kamwala Remand Prison after the closure of Zanla camps following the death of chairman, Cde Herbert Chitepo.
After their release from Kamwala Remand Prison, they were taken to Nampundwe Camp in Zambia before being moved to Tanzania for further military training.
Cde Masabeya trained at Mbagala Transit Camp near Dar es Salam and later taken to Morogoro Camp for further training, where they were joined by other comrades from Mozambique and instructors from Mugagau, headed by Vice President Constantino Guvheya Chiwenga.
On completion of the military training, Cde Masabeya was among the comrades who were selected for training as State certified nurses at Morogoro Teaching Hospital.
They were then moved to Mozambique in preparation for deployment to the operational zones.
He was promoted to a member of the General Staff and later deployed on the operational front in Manica.
After the Chimoio attack in 1977, he was recalled back to the rear and was deployed to Chimoio General Hospital where he was tasked with the responsibility of treating and coordinating the activities of the injured and sick members from the rear bases and the operational zones.
That also included visiting refugee camps like Chibawawa, Doroi and Tembwe to assess the medical conditions of comrades and drug supplies.
Cde Masabeya was later appointed director medical services and acting member of the High Command.
He was later joined in the medical services by Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, the late Brigadier-General, Dr Felix Muchemwa and the late Dr Herbert Ushewokunze.
At the time of ceasefire in 1979, Cde Masabeya was attached to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and appointed director of repatriation of all ZANLA Forces and refugees in Mozambique.
His special responsibility was putting together documentation of all refugees before they were repatriated back home. He was working with the staff from the UNHCR Headquarters in New York.
At independence in 1980, he was appointed member of the Joint High Command where he was tasked with integrating the then three forces — ZANLA Forces, ZIPRA Forces and the Rhodesian Army — to form a formidable ZNA Medical Services, together with the late Brig-Gen Dr Muchemwa.
He was attested in the army as a major in 1980.
During his service in the ZNA, he held a number of positions, among them Administration Staff Officer Grade 2 (1980-1988), Zimbabwe Army Medical Corps Directorate (1988-1992), Officer Commanding – Zimbabwe Defence Forces Rehabilitation Centre (Tsanga Lodge) (1992-1998), Officer Commanding, Eastern Front Troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1998- 2000), Officer Commanding — Zimbabwe Defence Forces Training Team: Retraining DRC Army (2000- 2002), Officer Commanding Headquarters HQ 3 Brigade (2002-2005).
He was attached to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as the provincial elections voter education coordinator (2005 to 2007).
Cde Masabeya officially retired from the ZNA on July 31, 2008, and took up the position of ZEC provincial elections officer.
— Manica Post