Zimbabwe vice-president dies

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

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