Zim Mourns Intellectual Icon and Fine Gentleman Prof Sam Moyo

By Sij Ncube

HARARE, November 23, 2015 – THE late Professor Samson Moyo, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident in India over the weekend, has been lauded for his scholarly contributions on President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reforms as condolence messages pour in from around the world over his tragic death.

Moyo was involved in a car crush on Friday night but died on Saturday, wrote extensively on Mugabe’s land reforms. In one of his works he credited the Zanu PF leader of showing vision by empowering about 400 000 new farmers by parcelling them land under his controversial land reform programme.

While he served as the head of Mugabe’s Land Reform Technical Advisory Team, he was the executive director of the Institute of Agrarian Studies in Harare which he founded.

Those close to Moyo attest that he was not only passionate about agrarian reform in Zimbabwe but the whole of the so-called Third World countries, adding that he was a thought leader on issues relating to land and agrarian studies..

Setting the ball-rolling in mourning Moyo, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said it was deeply saddened by his tragic death.

“Professor Moyo will be remembered by generations for his scholarship on land and agrarian studies in the global South, and more particularly in his homeland of Zimbabwe,” read part of a statement from ZHLR.

“His intellectual prowess was coupled with a gentle nature, humility and generosity of time, knowledge and mentorship which is so often missing in our society today. Sam’s untimely departure leaves Zimbabwe poorer, but blessed with his lifetime of scholarly contribution, recorded as it is for posterity.

“The ZLHR Board, secretariat and membership also extended its deep condolences to Sam’s mother, Mavis Moyo, his partner and ZLHR Board Chairperson, Beatrice Mtetwa, his children, extended family, friends and work colleagues “at this most difficult time.”

Popular blogger and political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, described Prof Moyo as a towering academic figure particularly with regards to his important work on agrarian issues in Zimbabwe, Africa and the rest of the global south.

“His interventions in analyzing the impact and import of the 2000 fast track land reform programme helped many students, fellow academics and civic society activists gain a better understanding of land issues in Zimbabwe and in the Global south. He will be sorely missed by all well meaning Zimbabweans across the political and ideological divides,” said Zhangazha. 

Constitutional law expert, Alex Magaisa, described Moyo as an eminent scholar and a great voice on land and agrarian issues in Zimbabwe and beyond “Those who knew him will testify to the greatness of his intellectual efforts. “His work transcended Zimbabwe. He dealt with a sensitive issue: land, long before many others had the courage to do so. And his analysis received wide acclaim and respect. He was no doubt, among Zimbabwe’s finest scholars, a great son who dedicated his life and research to this very important issue that continues to occupy us. He was among those who researched and wrote on the subject long before the land revolution post-2000. He opened the eyes of many in Zimbabwe and around the world. He was widely respected across Africa and the world, for the excellence of his work. He was one of those scholars to whom title of “authority” was appropriate,” said Magaisa.“He had a remarkable personality, a charming character. He was an amiable man who made everyone feel at home in his company. I remember the moments we shared – you wouldn’t even think he was a man of his stature.” 

Professor Moyo a former staffer of the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe leaves behind several children based in Zimbabwe,United Kingdom,Mozambique and Europe, his mother veteran broadcaster Mavis Moyo and his partner prominent lawyer and fearless human rights defender Beatrice Mtetwa.