Former President John Jerry Rawlings ruled Ghana for the longest period of its post-colonial history /Photo: JJR/Facebook

Jerry Rawlings, other prominent Africans who have died of COVID-19

According to the Africa Centers for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday, the number of people infected by the coronavirus in Africa has crossed 1.9 million with at least 45,954 deaths due to virus-related complications across the continent since February. In this report, Abeeb Alawiye compiles some personalities who died as a result of the coronavirus disease in Africa since the outbreak of the pandemic in February.


Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s former President

Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s former President, died from complications of COVID-19, according to media reports from Ghana.

He died at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, capital of Ghana, on Thursday (12 November).

Rawlings, who is one of the most respected African leaders, was a military leader in Ghana and later became a politician who ruled the country from 1981 to 2001.

Chief of Staff to Nigerian President, Abba Kyari

Though Nigeria had recorded 13 deaths from Covid-19 before April 17, the demise of Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari underscored the deadly impact of the novel virus. He had tested positive for the coronavirus disease after returning from a trip to Germany on March 15.

Several reports had it that Kyari had a history of medical complications, including diabetes and was transferred from Abuja the capital city to Lagos for medical care before his eventual death.

Top South African scientist, Gita Ramjee

According to Anadolu Agency report, Gita Ramjee recently returned to South Africa from a trip to London without showing Covid-19 symptoms, but later fell sick and was admitted to a hospital in Durban on the East Coast where she died on March 21.

Professor Ramjee was renowned for her work on finding HIV prevention methods that were conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women face, as well as attempts to find an effective HIV vaccine.

Professor Jacob Plange-Rhule: Ghanaian renowned physician

One of Ghana’s famous doctors and a senior lecturer in the field of renal medicine, Jacob Plange-Rhule died after contracting the novel corona virus.

Pape Diouf, former manager of Marseille

A former sports journalist, a legendary football agent and former president of Olympique Marseille football club, Pape Diouf, 68, became the first Covid-19 victim of Senegal. He died on March 31.

In a report by Africanews, authorities confirmed that he had been in intensive care in Dakar. Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.

“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.” 

Ex-Congolese president, Yhombi-Opango

On March 31, former president of the Republic of the Congo, Jacques Joaquim Yhombi-Opango died after contracting coronavirus disease.

Yhombi-Opango died in a Paris hospital. He was 81.

According to Aljazeera, Yhombi-Opango was ill before he contracted the virus, his son told AFP news agency.

He led Congo-Brazzaville from 1977 until he was toppled in 1979, being ousted by the country’s current leader, Denis Sassou Nguesso.

Rose Marie Compaore: Top lawmaker becomes Burkina Faso’s first COVID-19 casualty

Rose Marie Compaore was the first person to die of coronavirus in Burkina Faso on March 17.

The authorities confirmed that Compaore, who was the first-vice president of the parliament died aged 62 and was said to have diabetes, an underlying health condition.

Legendary Manu Dibango

Manu Dibango died on March 24 in France at the age of 86 from Covid-19.

The iconic musician played a variety of genres and is known for one of his most popular songs, “Soul Makossa,” which was sampled by Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

Ex-Somali Prime Minister “Nur Adde”

Former Somali prime minister Nur Hassan Hussein died on April 1, at a London hospital where he was receiving treatment for Covid-19.

Hussein served as prime minister between November 2007 and February 2009 and was credited with leading peace talks between the Ethiopia-backed government and Eritrea-based rebels.

Abeeb Alawiye

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