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VP Chiwenga suffering from suspected Polonium-210 poisoning



VP Chiwenga

Zimbabwe’s vice president, Rtd General Constantino Chiwenga, is suspected of suffering from the lethal polonium- 210 poisoning and is reportedly admitted at an undisclosed Indian military hospital, Spotlight Zimbabwe, has been told.

High level sources in the defence ministry this week disclosed that Chiwenga was rushed to India aboard a private plane through the Manyame air base in the capital, for “urgent treatment” and “tests of any possible unidentifiable poisons” as military intelligence officials suspect the former Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) boss, could have ingested the poison administered using food by his political enemies.

Chiwenga’s medical rescue efforts are said to have involved top officials from India’s armed forces and the Zimbabwe army, and that India’s president, Ram Nath Kovind, had called the VP to check on his progress in treatment and health.

Chiwenga paid Kovind a visit last year in March, as a special envoy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, to explain the regime’s new dispensation policy following the overthrow of the former leader, Robert Mugabe, in a military coup in November 2017.

“Number 2 (Chiwenga) was rushed to an Indian military hospital following suspicion that he could have been poisoned with some kind of dose of a lethal poison or military grade nerve agent during the November coup period,” said the sources.

“Military intelligence officials are not taking any chances. The fact that medical doctors in Zimbabwe and South Africa have failed to explain his exact ailment, made them believe that he could have been made to ingest polonium -210 using food by his enemies, which is very difficult to trace in the human body and only nuclear scientists have the expertise needed to trace it.”

Polonium-210 is a rare radioactive metal discovered by Marie Curie in the late 19th century. While radioactive, it emits a high-energy form of radiation, but the particles do not travel far and it decays relatively quickly. Curie named the chemical element after her country, Poland.

Polonium-210 is also a known carcinogen (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue). When inhaled, it causes lung cancer, and if swallowed, it becomes concentrated in red blood cells, before spreading to the liver, kidneys, bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, and the testicles or ovaries, according to medicalnewstoday.

The deadly poison was infamously used to kill the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006. He died of radiation sickness. Litvinenko is alleged to have swallowed a fatal dose of Po-210 by drinking tea at a business meeting with two other Russians. Both were charged with his murder.

Last year opposition politician and activist, Elliot Pfebve, made stunning revelations that the late prime minister and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai may have been poisoned using a poisonous metal isotopy allegedly bought by the ruling Zanu PF party from Russia, which is similar to polonium-210, to eradicate the opposition leadership.

“Tsvangirai may have been poisoned, in the same way, Mnangagwa was poisoned. In 2014, I received a tip-off that Zanu PF bought a poisonous metal isotopy from Russia destined to eradicate opposition leadership.

“It is similar to Polonium 210 which killed Alexander Litvinenko in London but a slow reactive poison than Polonium 210 that takes time to kill its victim by inducing cancer.

This may have explained why recently Mnangagwa came out open on what doctors told him, of a poisonous metal found in his body, which can only be found from 2 military governments of the world, Russia and Israeli,” Pfebve said.

Ironically it is Chiwenga who reacted with speed to Mnangagwa’s alleged poisoning, by sending a helicopter to airlift him from a party rally in Gwanda, and then further to South Africa for emergency attendance.

Mnangagwa is thought to have survived the poisoning, through the skin of the teeth, as he received early medical treatment and because the poisonous metal found in his system was quickly removed.

Local online media and the mainstream reported this week that Chiwenga was in India for treatment, with confirmation from the information ministry, which described his ailment as a “minor abdominal ailment”.

Another online publication, ZimLive, said the second in charge had reportedly undergone esophageal manometry, “used to measure the strength and muscle coordination of one’s esophagus when they swallow”.

There has also been speculation of witchcraft claims as the source of Chiwenga’s affliction, while other reports have linked his medical woes to skin cancer. Chiwenga has been in and out of the hospital in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Only last week the VP was at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital.

Another high profile world leader, thought to have succumbed to polonium-210 is the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, according to a Swiss forensic report obtained by Al-Jazeera.

Arafat’s official medical records say he died in 2004 from a stroke resulting from a blood disorder. But his body was exhumed in 2012 amid continuing claims he was murdered.

The Swiss report said tests on the body showed “unexpected high activity” of polonium, which “moderately” supported the poisoning theory.
Spotlight Zimbabwe

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Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies




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



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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17 new Zimbabwe Covid-19 cases confirmed



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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