As the inks flow in tributes to Abba Kyari by those who loved and despised him, let us not forget that Abba was much misunderstood and often maligned.

Africa, the continent that was last to confirm cases of coronavirus now has more than 20,000 cases. As of Tuesday, according to Worldometer, the continent has 24,501 confirmed cases, 1,167 deaths, and 6,531 recoveries.

Two countries, Comoros and Lesotho have not recorded a case of the virus, leaving southern Africa the only region with virus-free countries.

As more testing is being rolled out in the coming weeks, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, have warned that a vast increase in cases may be recorded in the continent.

The report, which was released on Friday, cited modelling from Imperial College London, stating that “Africa could see 300,000 deaths from coronavirus this year even under the best-case scenario.”

UNECA in a report said under the worst-case scenario with “no interactions against the virus, Africa could see 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections.”

The report added that even with “intense social distancing” under the best-case scenario, the continent could see more than 122 million infections.”

It estimated that $44 billion under the best-case scenario and $446 billion under the worst-case scenario will be needed for testing, personal protective equipment, and treatment.

Because Africa has widespread health problems it makes people of the continent “particularly susceptible” to the virus, also “of all the continents Africa has the highest prevalence of certain underlying conditions like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS” the UN report said.

WHO’s emergency operations manager in Africa, Michel Yao, who did not give the source of the projection said “but these are still be fine-tuned,” public health measures, he added, could have an impact in limiting cases.

Africa, as of Tuesday, has recorded 1,167 deaths due to the COVID–19 pandemic.

The pandemic has not only led to the loss of lives but precautionary measures have caused some to lose their source of livelihood which on a larger scale has affected the economy of the affected nations.

The whole world is fighting against a common enemy, an unseen enemy which has resulted in the death of many, notwithstanding class, status or race.

Below are prominent Africans who have lost their lives as a result of coronavirus.

Abba Kyari

The Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari died on Friday, April 17.

His death was confirmed by the Presidents spokesperson Garba Shehu who posted on social media. “The Presidency regrets to announce the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari. The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging COVID-19 and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020.”

He died in his late 60’s and served with the current administration since 2015.

Mr Kyari contracted the disease while in Germany on official duty.

Amadou Salif Kebe

The Chairperson of Guinea’s elections body died on Friday, April 17.

Although the Independent Electoral Commission, CENI, confirmed his death in a statement, the cause of his death was not mentioned.

A French online news portal Jeune Afrique reported that a close person to the deceased disclosed that he had died after contracting the virus during the last elections held in the country held on 22 March this year.

Benedict Somi Vilakazi

A South African surrounded by history- his grandfather was the first black South African lecturer at Witswatersrand University, he (his grandfather) produced an English/Zulu dictionary and is known for enormous achievements when the country was then divided sharply by race.

Mr Vilakazi is popularly known for his coffee shop located by the Hector Pieterson Memorial, which is a “landmark of South Africa’s struggle against apartheid, the previous regime of racial oppression.”

His cousin said that at the coffee shop “Somi took great pride in telling people about the history of the family and Soweto.”

He died at the age of 57 on March 11, leaving his wife and two children.

Family members attested that he had “taken the coronavirus threat seriously, he observed precautions while serving customers and closed the shop well before South Africa went into lockdown on March 27.

Khalif Mumin Tohon

He died on Sunday, April 12, in Mogadishu’s Marhini hospital, just a day after testing positive. He was the justice minister of Somalia’s Hirshabella state. His death was confirmed by the vice president of Hirshabella Ali Hussen.

In February, Mr Tohon, a Somali – British travelled to the UK before returning to his country. His death is the second in the country after a 58 – year old man died on Wednesday the Somali minister of health Fawaya Nur said in a tweet.

Jacob Plange-Rhule

Renowned Ghanaian physician and the Rector of the College of Physicians and Surgeons died in the early hours of Friday from complications of COVID – 19. He died at the University of Ghana medical centre.

The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Justice Yankso, confirmed adding that the deceased had underlying health conditions. He was the former president of the GMA + Ghana kidney Association.

Ahmed Hudeydi

He was also known as “the king of oud”. He died in London at the age of 92 from COVID – 19.


Radio France International reported that Hanna Ali the artistic director of the UK-based Kayd Somalians Arts and culture centre said in a statement Hudeydi’s music embodied the sound of a long struggle to freedom and independence.

Mr Hudeydi was born in Somalia in 1928. In the late 1950s and ’60s (anti-colonial movement and decolonization era), he became a well – known figure as a composer and a musician.

Condolence messages to family and friends flooded the social media platform, Twitter, as Somali celebrated the memory of the deceased.

Mahmud Jubril

A rebel leader who led the monument against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, he died on April 5, in Egypt.

He died at the age of 68, after contracting coronavirus at a hospital in Egypt. The Director of the hospital, Hisham Wagdy, said, “he was admitted to the hospital on March 21 after suffering a heart attack before testing positive for the new coronavirus and being quarantined.”

Nur Hussein

Somali’s former prime minister, he died of the virus in London at age 82. He served as a prime minister from November 2007 – Feb 2009. In 1991, he was an attorney general under President Siad Barre’s leadership.

Hailed for his hands-on leadership by his acquaintances, Mr Hussein was a police officer who trained as a lawyer.

Pape Diouf

Former Marseille president, Pape Diouf has died at 68 after contracting COVID-19.

He was hospitalised in Senegal after contracting the virus.

On March 31, he was due to travel to France earlier on Tuesday for treatment, but a “sharp deterioration in his health- which saw him placed on a respirator-prevented him from boarding the plane. He died that same night becoming the first Senegalese COVID-19 fatality.

Olympique de Marseille is a top French professional football club that is based in Marseille.

Mr Diouf was a French and Senegalese citizen, who was born in Chad.

Prior to becoming the president of the football club, he was a journalist and football agent. He moved to Marseille at the young age of 18 to pursue a military career but soon switched paths.

“After studying at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris, he worked at the La Marseillaise newspaper before becoming a football agent, most notably for Didier Drogba, who enthralled the Velodrome in 2003-2004,” France 24 said.

According to Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the club’s current president, “he later became president at Marseille, a difficult post, where there were very few men from diverse backgrounds.”

He led the Olympique Marseille football club between 2005 – 2009.

He remains the first black man to hold the position of president in that football club, an experience he personally called a “painful observation.”

Zororo Makanba

The son of Zimbabwean business mogul and ruling Zanu PF politician, James Makamba was admitted to hospital after his condition got worse.

He was a Median practitioner who won several accolades in Zimbabwe.

He died at the age of 30 and was the second person to test positive for COVID-19 after he travelled to New York.

A family friend, Mutumwa Mawere, confirmed his death on Monday, March 23.

“Mr Zororo Makamba, the son of Mr. James Makamba has passed on. MHSRIEP. I have just learned of this tragic loss due to the virus. A giant with so much potential has fallen. Corona is real. Let us pause and reflect. Life is too precious,” Mr Mawere said.

Aurlus Mabele

A music star from Congo, nicknamed by his fans “king of soukous”- a high tempo dance, died on Thursday, March 19.

Born as Aurélien Miatsonama, from Congo-Brazzaville, he moved to France in the 1980s. He died in a Parisian hospital, aged 67.

Yhombi Opango

Former president of the Republic of Congo. He died of coronavirus at a hospital in Paris, aged 81.

Mr Opango served from 1977 to 1979 when he was overthrown by the current president Denis Sassou Nguesso.

He spent some years in prison and was released in 1991 when the country introduced multi-party democracy. Between 1992 and 1997, he served as Prime Minister under the leadership of Pascal Lissouba, until a civil war broke out in 1997.

The deceased went into exile in France and was allowed to return home 10 years later.

Manu Dibango

A Cameroonian Afro-Jazz legend, also known as the ‘Soul Makossa’ author passed away on March 24 at 86 years old after contracting the virus.

His death was disclosed by his family in a Facebook post.

Mukendi Mulumba

He was the acting head of President Felix Tshisekedi’s legal advisory council. He is believed to have contracted the virus in France where he went for a medical check-up.

Rose Campaore

Marie Rose Compaoré is the second vice president of the Burkinabé Parliament and co-founder of the opposition Union for Progress and Change (UPC).

She died on March 17, aged 62.

She had diabetes, which is an underlying health condition.

In the continent, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Cameroon, Tunisia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, and Niger have confirmed COVID-19 cases above 600. South Africa and Egypt both have cases over 3000.

Although 15 countries have not recorded a single death, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Cameroon, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, DRC, Niger, and Nigeria have the highest number of recorded deaths.

When compared to other continents, Africa has the lowest number of deaths.

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