Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo succumbs to Covid-19

Minister Sibusiso Moyo

Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo who succumbed to Covid-19 on January 20, 2021.

Photo credit: File | AFP


Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, who was the face of the 2017 coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert  Mugabe, has died of Covid-19, the government said on Wednesday.

Retired General Moyo, who announced on State television in 2017 that the late Mugabe was under house arrest, becomes the second minister to die of the respiratory disease in a week.

Ellen Gwaradzimba, a provincial affairs minister, succumbed to Covid-19 last week and will be buried on Thursday.

In a statement, Cabinet spokesperson George Charamba said: "President Emmerson Mnangagwa regrets to announce the passing on early this morning of Dr S B Moyo, our minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The late minister succumbed to Covid-19 at a local hospital."

The former army general had been battling a kidney ailment that had him in and out of hospital since he joined the government after the coup.

He tested positive for Covid-19 two days ago after spending several days in hospital.

A veteran of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war, Rtd Gen Moyo was being touted as one President Mnangagwa’s potential successors.

Another key player in the coup, Retired Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, became the first minister to die of Covid-19 in July last year.

Zimbabwe has been witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the year, forcing authorities to reintroduce a strict lockdown to slow down infections.

On Tuesday, the country recorded 52 deaths and 783 new infections. The Covid-19 caseload increased to 28,675 and 825 deaths.

There are fears that Zimbabwe's health delivery system that has been weakened by years of underfunding and a severe brain drain. 

A significant number of people are said to be dying in their homes as they cannot access health facilities.