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COVID-19 Decimating Ranks of Zimbabwe’s Government

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By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) – The coronavirus is reaping a “grim harvest” in Zimbabwe. Those were the words of President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledging the deadly reach of the virus in the nation’s highest ranks of government.

Zimbabwe’s transport and foreign ministers both succumbed to the coronavirus less than two days of each other. Four ministers have died so far, with several more reportedly fighting for their lives in hospital.

Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, 61, was a military general who declared the coup against then-president Robert Mugabe in 2017. He died on the January 20.

“The pandemic has been indiscriminate. There are no spectators, adjudicators, no holier than thou. No supermen or superwomen. We are all exposed,” Mnangagwa said in a nationally televised address.

Mnangagwa presided at the burial of one Cabinet minister last week. Then came the death of transport minister Joel Matiza, less than two days after Minister Moyo. Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri died of the disease in August.

Cabinet minister Ellen Gwaradzimba died from COVID-19 last week.

Opposition spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere said she tested positive after being released from prison. She was freed after seven days of detention for tweeting a video showing alleged police violence.

Several other cabinet ministers are reportedly fighting for their lives in a private hospital, according to unconfirmed local media reports.

Zimbabwe shows what happens when the coronavirus collides with one of the world’s most run-down health systems.

Nurses at a major public hospital are on strike after colleagues died because of a lack of personal protective equipment, while medical facilities have run out of oxygen and undertakers can’t keep up.

Meanwhile, ReliefWeb of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced the donation of 20 ventilators to Solidarity Trust Zimbabwe to help Zimbabweans with the virus. This comes after former ruling party lawmaker Killer Zivhu tweeted that people must buy their own ventilators.

Although vaccines have been administered in 50 wealthy nations, Guinea is the sole low-income country on the continent to receive doses, with only 25 people being inoculated so far.

And in a new report by the non-profit Oxfam titled The Inequality Virus it finds: “Worldwide, billionaires’ wealth increased by $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31, 2020… The world’s 10 richest billionaires have seen their wealth increase by $540 billion over this period.” [IDN-InDepthNews – 25 January 2021]

Photo: Africa needs timely access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Credit: WHO

IDN is flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate.

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