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Dumiso Dabengwa dies in Kenya on way home

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Dumiso Dabengwa

Dumiso Dabengwa died in Kenya on Wednesday night en route to Zimbabwe from India where he had undergone medical treatment for a liver tumour, his trust, the Dabengwa Foundation, said on Thursday. Previously, he had been treated at an undisclosed South African medical facility in Johannesburg.

At the time of his death, Dabengwa was the president of the revived Zimbabwe African People’s Union (Zapu) which broke away from a 1987 unity agreement with the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) that formed the Zanu-PF. During Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Dabengwa was the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Party’s (Zipra’s) intelligence chief.

He worked with the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto weSizwe in operations that brought together Zipra and MK.

However, following Zimbabwe’s war of independence, Dabengwa was charged with treason by the Mugabe administration in 1982 with Lookout Masuku (who died in prison).

They were acquitted due to a lack of evidence in 1983 but were detained under emergency regulations.

The Gukurahundi massacres that claimed at least 20,000 lives in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces began at that time. At the signing of the unity accord between Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo in 1987, Dabengwa reluctantly joined Zanu-PF and served as an MP and later home affairs minister from 1992-2000.

In his last public appearance, Dabengwa disputed claims by Zanu-PF that it sheltered exiled ANC cadres in Harare in the 1980s, saying they were kept by Zapu.

“Whilst history does record the long-standing co-operation between Zapu/Zipra and ANC/MK in the 1960s and 1970s, very little has been said or recorded about how Zapu/Zipra continued its support for Umkhonto we Sizwe after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

“Today I would like to reveal some details of this crucially important period of our common history. Following the emergence of the Mugabe-led Zanu government in April 1980, the situation facing the ANC and Umkhonto weSizwe in Zimbabwe was very difficult.

“Zanu were openly hostile towards the ANC at that time and they were assisted in their efforts to block ANC/MK presence in Zimbabwe by former Rhodesians and the many South African agents operating in the Zimbabwe security services,” Dabengwa told a gathering.TimesLive

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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence 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.Reuters

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HEALTH

US buys nearly all of Gilead’s Covid-19 drug Remdesivir

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Remdesivir Covid 19

The US is buying nearly all the next three months’ projected production of Covid-19 treatment Remdesivir from US manufacturer Gilead.

The US health department announced on Tuesday it had agreed to buy 500,000 doses for use in American hospitals. Tests suggest Remdesivir cuts recovery times, though it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates.

Gilead did sign a licensing deal in May for production outside the US but it is still in its early stages.

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. A course of treatment in the US will cost $2,340 (£1,900).

Nine companies can make the drug under licence outside the US for distribution in 127 mostly poorer countries, and the cost is lower. But the project is still in its early stages.

Additional quantities are being manufactured for use in clinical trials. But critics say the US move to buy up so much stock from Gilead itself undermines international co-operation on COVID, given that other countries have taken part in trials of Remdesivir, originally an anti-viral against Ebola.

“The trial that gave the result that allowed Remdesivir to sell their drug wasn’t just done in the US. There were patients participating through other European countries, in the UK as well, and internationally, Mexico and other places,” Oxford University’s Prof Peter Horby told BBC Radio 4.

He said the move also had implications for any possible future vaccine, with the need for “a much stronger framework if we are going to develop these things and they’re going to be used for national emergencies”.

Senior Sussex University lecturer, Ohid Yaqub, said: “It so clearly signals an unwillingness to co-operate with other countries and the chilling effect this has on international agreements about intellectual property rights.”Some in the US have criticised the purchase price, as taxpayer money had helped fund Remdesivir’s development.BBC

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HEALTH

17 new Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases confirmed

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Zimbabwe Covid 19

Seventeen new cases of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, a majority of which are from quarantine facilities were reported yesterday bringing the total number of cases to 591.

From the cases confirmed yesterday, 13 involved returnees from South Africa, one from Botswana while three were local transmissions. The Ministry of Health and Child Care daily update shows that one of the cases confirmed as a local transmission had to contact with a known confirmed case.

Investigations are, however, underway to establish the source of infection for the two other local transmissions. Cases of recoveries also continue to increase with the latest statistics from the update standing at 162, leaving the country with 421 active COVID 19 cases.

The latest recoveries were reported from Mashonaland East (3), Mashonaland Central (2), Bulawayo (2), Matabeleland North (2), Mashonaland West (1) and Manicaland (1). The number of people who have died from the virus remains at seven.

“To date, the total number of confirmed cases is 591, recovered 162, active cases, 422 and seven deaths since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020,” reads part of the update.

Zimbabwe has so far conducted 67 755 tests for Covid-19 from which, 30 711 were diagnostic tests while the remaining were rapid tests done for screening purposes. The Herald

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