Lands and Agriculture Minister, Retired Chief Air Marshal Perrance Shiri has died.
Writing on his microblog Facebook his deputy in the ministry, Vangelis Haritatos confirmed that Shiri died early this morning.
“Sadly this is true. Hon. Minister Shiri passed on this morning,” he said.
Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said.
As condolences messages continues to pour in, President Emmerson Mnangagwa issued a statement on his social media microblog, narrating the life of his long time liberation comrade.
“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not mention how Shiri died.
Local reports said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has so far infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.
A liberation war veteran, Shiri had a tainted past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s reign of terror killing thousands of civilians in the western parts of Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.
The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.