In the wake of indications that a considerable number of ruling Zanu PF officials have been infected with the Covid19 pandemic, seven politburo members on Wednesday failed to attend a meeting at the party’s national headquarters, with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa revealing that six had fallen sick while one had been placed under self quarantine after returning from a funeral in Tanzania.
The septuagenarian made the announcements of the party stalwarts who had asked for absence of leave while opening yesterday’s politburo session.
“I have received an apology from comrade Sydney Sekeramayi who is not well, comrade Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who is in quarantine after we had sent him to attend the funeral of former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, Lovemore Matuke who is not well, Josiah Hungwe who is not too well, Joshua Malinga who is not well, Christopher Mutsvangwa who is not well, Engelbert Rugeje who is not well and Richard Ndlovu, a newly-appointed member of the politburo,” the strongman told his politburo members.
Their absence has heightened speculation that the deadly pandemic which recently claimed the life of national hero Perrance Shiri could have taken its toll on the high-ranking absentees.
Although some members of the late Lands and Agriculture minister’s family raised eyebrows over circumstances surrounding the death of their relative, Mnangagwa used the funeral wake to open the enveloped post-mortem results confirming that Shiri- a retired military tactician- had indeed succumbed to coronavirus.
Last month, Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity Patrick Chinamasa sensationally announced that a total number of 26 party employees had tested positive for the deadly virus.
The current developments fly hard in the face of Defence minister Oppar Muchinguri who attracted widespread condemnation after she infamously told a Zanu PF gathering in Chinhoyi that Covid19 was God’s way of punishing the Western countries for imposing sanctions on Harare.
Paradoxically, Mnangagwa later roped Muchinguri into a ministerial committee tasked with implementing Zimbabwe’s fight against the spread of the virus in the country.