Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister, Sibusiso Moyo, who gained world prominence for announcing the 2017 coup that ousted Robert Mugabe, died from coronavirus on Wednesday, the government said.
Moyo, 61, was the face of the November 18 2017 coup which toppled the country’s autocratic president and replaced him with Emmerson Mnangagwa.
His role in the spotlight spurred press speculation that Moyo had been earmarked by Mnangagwa as his successor.
“President Emmerson Mnangagwa regrets to announce the passing on early this morning of Dr S.B. Moyo, our minister of foreign affairs and international trade,” government spokesman George Charamba said.
“The late minister succumbed to Covid-19 at a local hospital.”
Moyo was in the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) before being promoted to lieutenant general on retirement in December 2017.
His part in announcing that the army had stepped in to remove the despotic Mugabe as the president of Zimbabwe earned him the nickname of “General Bae,” or “Darling General.”
Moyo was married to judge Loice Matanda who is also the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption chairperson.
He is the third minister to die from Covid-19 since July.
Official reports said the former army general had been battling a kidney ailment requiring regular dialysis at the time of his death.
Zimbabwe has seen a surge in Covid-19 infections and deaths since the start of the year. It reported 52 deaths and 783 new infections on Tuesday.