One of Zimbabwe's vice-presidents, Joseph Msika, has died at the age of 85, South African public radio reported on Tuesday.
One of Zimbabwe’s vice-presidents, Joseph Msika, has died at the age of 85, South African public radio reported on Tuesday.
Msika died in a hospital in Zimbabwe on Tuesday, the report said.
He was admitted to hospital in South Africa in June after falling ill at a summit of Eastern and Southern African leaders, the radio report said.
Reports in Zimbabwe at the time said he had suffered a stroke. He had been in poor health since 2005.
Msika, who was 85-year-old President Robert Mugabe’s senior by just a few months, had been vice-president since 1999.
Joice Mujuru, wife of influential former army general Solomon Mujuru, is
the other vice-president.
Msika and Mujuru maintained their positions after Mugabe formed a coalition with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in February.
Under the terms of the power-sharing agreement, Mugabe can name two vice-presidents from within his Zanu-PF party.
Party chairperson John Nkomo is said to be a strong candidate to replace Msika.
As a member of Zimbabwe’s Ndebele minority—brutalised by the army in a bloody crackdown on the opposition in the 1980s—Msika was one of the few senior Zanu-PF members to speak out about state-sanctioned human rights abuses.
He publicly took Mugabe to task over the killings of thousands of Ndebele civilians and later questioned the sincerity of Mugabe’s apology. - Sapa-DPA