Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, has died.
The minister succumbed to Covid-19 at a local hospital, according to a government statement.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa eulogised Mr Moyo as a “devoted public servant and a true hero”:
Mr Moyo, a major general, was the face of the military takeover which ousted former President Robert Mugabe.
On the night of the coup d’etat, he appeared on television, in uniform, to ask Zimbabweans to remain calm and assure them that only “criminals” were being targeted.
Born in 1960, the former army general gained international prominence in 2017, when he announced the military takeover that ousted long-serving President Robert Mugabe from power.
Two cabinet ministers, Ellan Gwaradzimba and Perrance Shiri, have died over the last six months. Mr Shiri died from Covid-19.
Mr Moyo is the second senior government figure to die from Covid-19 in Zimbabwe. Retired general and Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri succumbed to the illness last July.
In neighbouring Malawi, President Lazarus Chakwera has taken personal blame for the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.
There had been a “collective sense of relaxation in adherence to Covid prevention measures among many Malawians including myself”, he said last week.
Malawi’s Local Government Minister Lingson Belekenyama and Transport Minister Muhammad Sidik Mia died from the illness last week.
Mr Moyo died in a local hospital on Wednesday, President Emerson Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba said in a statement.
Mr Mnangagwa described him as a friend and a “true hero”.
“He fought his entire life so that Zimbabwe could be free,” the president said.