The main opposition MDC accused Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Shiri’s driver reportedly died due to a COVID-19-related illness last Saturday and was buried a day later.
Chikerema said as precautionary measures, less than 15 people were gathered at his Borrowdale home.Some reports suggested that Shiri died alone in his vehicle and tried calling his close associate, independent MP for Norton, Temba Mliswa and his Agriculture secretary John Bhasera to drive him to hospital.
Both Mliswa and Bhasera were not immediately available for comment.Sources revealed that Shiri started showing serious signs of sickness on Thursday when some directors had to wait for him while he slept for four hours in his office at a time they were supposed to be in a meeting.
He reportedly visited a doctor, but his condition deteriorated on Monday, a day after his driver was buried.The Lands ministry head office was closed on Tuesday when Shiri’s condition worsened and according to an internal memorandum by the ministry’s human resources department, several workers had been tested for COVID-19, but the results were yet to be released.Midlands Provincial Affairs minister Larry Mavima said Zimbabwe had lost a pillar and “clear thinker”.
“He was a dedicated, hardworking and loyal son of the soil whose exploits as a young man will always be remembered and are well-documented in the history of Zimbabwe,” Mavima said.Shiri’s body is reportedly at a local funeral parlour instead of the usual One Commando Barracks, an army facility where all national heroes are taken to, as they have no COVID-19 facilities.
The former airforce boss was not in Cabinet on Tuesday after he was asked to self-quarantine following his driver’s death.Agriculture ministry offices have since been closed for disinfection.
Meanwhile, the opposition MDC Alliance yesterday said the regime had failed to manage the pandemic, warning of more COVID-19 deaths that a disaster was looming if the situation did not improve.
“We are concerned with the regime’s mismanagement of the pandemic,” MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti said. “The first omission has been the failure to conduct adequate testing for our people. The regime has failed to isolate, to track and to quarantine victims of COVID-19.
“That failure is seen now in the massive growth of the number of persons infected by local transmission.” Biti added: “We place responsibility for the rise in COVID-19 cases on the doors of the regime, on the doors of Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
“What is now happening is that the combination of COVID-19, the combination of a very cold winter, a hungry population that doesn’t have jobs, food, you have seen the emergence in Zimbabwe of a slow genocide. Anyone who lives near a funeral yard you would have seen a massive increase in the number of people being buried.”— Additional reporting by Reuters
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