COVID wiping out an entire generation of political leadership in developing countries

Mainly as the result of the Trump administration’s U.S.-centric view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American media has largely ignored the dire effects the disease has had in other countries, particularly developing nations in Africa and Asia. WMR has received a first-hand report of the virus taking the lives of a number of political leaders in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and other countries. South Africa’s dynamic Minister of the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu was the latest to fall victim to the virus. Mthembu was a stalwart of the governing African National Congress (ANC) who began fighting against the apartheid regime in the 1970s. Mthembu became ill from the virus on January 11 and he died on January 21, ten days later. A more dangerous mutation of COVID-19 has been discovered in South Africa. However, it is not known if that was what took Mthembu’s life.

Last year, South Africa’s ambassador to Denmark, Zindzi Mandela, the daughter of post-apartheid President Nelson Mandela, died from the virus. In addition to Mandela’s daughter, the virus has acted as the grim reaper in taking the lives of several other ANC leaders, including national and provincial members of Parliament. They include Zamuxolo Joseph Peter, McCollen Ntsikelelo, Martha Mmola, Ricardo Mthembu, Gordon Kegakilwe, and Nomvuzo Francisca Shabalala. The ANC is not the only party seeing its upper ranks losing its best and brightest from the pandemic. Also succumbing to COVID were United Democratic Movement (UDM) deputy national chairperson Mncedisi Filtane and Henry Jansen, the Democratic Alliance mayor of Langeberg, Western Cape.

In December 2020, COVID took the life of the Prime Minister of eSwatini, Ambrose Dlamini.

The situation has been worse in Zimbabwe, where three Cabinet members have died in recent weeks. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the pandemic was reaping a “grim harvest” in his country. The dead include Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joel Matiza, Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs Dr. Ellen Gwaradzimba, [funeral pictured above] and Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri, the latter having died last July and the other three dying this month.

The pandemic has also taken the lives of Abba Kyari, Nigeria’s powerful chief of staff to the president, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza — although the government insists his death was from a heart attack — Burundi’s former President Pierre Buyoya, and the First Lady of Gabon Edith Lucie Bongo — who was also the daughter of Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

WMR’s African sources report that the COVID situation is worsening in Africa with shortages of hospital beds and medical personnel. COVID has taken a similar toll in Asia, with newspapers like the Economic Times of India having recently run headlines like “Covid-19 wreaks havoc on Indian politicians” with ledes like, “A former President, four past chief ministers, one union and seven state ministers, and several lawmakers have succumbed to Covid-19 in the past few months.” Last November,

Ahmed Patel, the leader of India’s opposition Congress Party also died from the virus. The pandemic has taken an equally dire toll among lawmakers in Pakistan and Iran.

The disastrous news out of Africa has been muzzled by a shameless corporate American media that appears to have silently gone along with Donald Trump’s characterization of African nations as “shithole” countries.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2020

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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