Sibusiso Moyo, who became the face of the 2017 coup against then-President Robert Mugabe, has died in a Harare hospital.
Zimbabwe’s Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo has died of COVID-19, the government said on Wednesday.
He rose to prominence in 2017 as the military general who announced the coup against then-President Robert Mugabe on television.
Moyo, 61, previously little known to the public, became the face of the coup when he announced that the military had placed Mugabe under house arrest as armored vehicles drove through the capital, Harare.
The coup ended Mugabe’s 37-year rule in Zimbabwe. Mugabe died in September 2019.
Moyo was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power with military backing.
He “succumbed to COVID-19 at a local hospital” on Wednesday, Mnangagwa spokesman George Charamba said in a statement.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a resurgence of the disease, with a record number of confirmed cases and deaths every day.
Mnangagwa is set to bury another Cabinet minister, Ellen Gwaradzimba, who died of COVID-19 last week on Thursday.
Transmission between prisoners
Opposition spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere said she tested positive for COVID-19 after being released from prison.
She was released Monday after seven days of detention.
Jailed journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and other inmates have previously raised concerns about the overcrowded conditions in prisons, which they say encourages transmission of COVID-19 among inmates and prison guards.
Harare mayor and opposition leader Jacob Mafume, released from prison this week after a month in detention, is in solitary confinement after his lawyers said three of his cell mates died from COVID-19.
Zimbabwe, like many other African countries, initially recorded low numbers of COVID-19 but recently saw a spike in cases.
It is feared that a new, more infectious variant of the virus arrived from South Africa when thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa returned home for the holiday season.
The government said it was in the process of genetic sequencing to confirm the presence of the variant.
Zimbabwe, which once boasted of a robust public health system, has recorded 28,675 cases and 825 deaths, according to government figures.
The southern African country has yet to receive any vaccine.
The government has said it plans to receive some vaccines as part of the COVAX initiative led by the World Health Organization, but it does not have a specific date on when it will be delivered.