Coronavirus targets politicians across Southern Africa


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It never rains, but pours for Zimbabwe’s governing politicians who are falling prey to COVID-19 one after another.

Leaders across parts of Southern Africa are struggling against the pandemic as the deadly virus keeps claiming the lives of political elites.

In July last year, Perrance Shiri, Zimbabwe’s AgricultureMinister, died of COVID-19.

On  15 January, Ellen Gwaradzimba, Zimbabwe’s Minister for Provincial Affairs for Manicaland Province, succumbed to coronavirus and was followed in the same week by Morton Malianga, the country’s Deputy Finance Minister in the 1980s.

As if that was not enough, on  20 January, Sibusiso Busi Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, also succumbed to coronavirus in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

Two days after the death of Moyo, 81-year-old top regional historian and former Zimbabwean Education Minister, Aeneas Chigwedere, also succumbed to COVID-19 at his farm house in Mashonaland East Province. On the same day just before Chigwedere kicked the bucket, Joel Biggie Matiza, Zimbabwe’s Transport Minister, was also killed by COVID-19 in Harare.

Despite the fact coronavirus has not spared the country’s political leaders, Zimbabwe’s Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa was seen publicly celebrating her 60th birthday with other senior government ministers and officials at the end of last year, also in the middle of a government-imposed lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, a development that irked anti-government activists.

“The same government leaders enact rules to fight coronavirus, but the same leaders preside over the infringement of the same rules, holding parties during lockdown. The government leaders thought they were immune to the respiratory disease,” Claris Madhuku, a government critic and leader of the Platform for Youth Development, a civil society group, said.

So, Zimbabwe, currently grappling with over 32 000 coronavirus cases, has had over 1 000 deaths due to the respiratory disease and these include four government ministers.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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