BY STAFF REPORTERS
ZIMBABWE’S ambassador to Mozambique, Major-General (Rtd) Douglas Nyikayaramba has died.
Nyikayaramba (64) succumbed to COVID-19-related complications in Harare yesterday.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the death yesterday at the start of a Cabinet meeting.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba also confirmed Nyikayaramba’s death on his official Twitter handle.
“I’m gutted to learn of the demise of Major General (Rtd) Nyikayaramba, our ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique. We have lost him to COVID-19. Yet another diplomat, commander, war veteran and patriot falls,” Charamba tweeted.
The late Nyikayaramba became infamous in 2011 during the Government of National Unity when he declared that he would not salute the main opposition leader, the late Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) even if he won the elections.
He accused Tsvangirai, then the country’s Prime Minister, of being a threat to national security.
“Tsvangirai doesn’t pose a political threat in any way in Zimbabwe, but is a major security threat. He takes instructions from foreigners who seek to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe,” Nyikayaramba said then.
He further described the opposition as “day dreamers who wanted to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle”, adding that they “will continue day-dreaming”, “can go to hell”, and that “they will never rule this country”.
Other infamous utterances by the late Nyikayaramba were that the late former President Robert Mugabe, then 87 years old, should be a President for life.
Political analyst Alex Magaisa described Nyikayaramba as one of the generals who was at the forefront of resisting democratisation in Zimbabwe, adding that he would only be mourned by like-minded people.
“He even made some rude and retrogressive statements such as national security threat (against) Morgan Tsvangirai and that MDC would not be allowed to rule, therefore, he would never had supported the ascendancy of any other party, apart from Zanu PF, so his loss will obviously be mourned by his comrades in Zanu PF,” Magaisa said.
“He was having a very significant role in the military’s involvement in the economy, and he oversaw the diamond business in Marange, and the Command Agriculture programme.”
Nyikayaramba becomes the fourth of the 2017 coup generals to succumb to COVID-19 after former Air Force chief Perrance Shiri (Lands and Agriculture minister), coup announcer Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs minister), and ex-Prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi.
Nyikayaramba was retired by Mnangagwa in March 2019 and posted to Mozambique.