Harare, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday mourned the death of Zimbabwe’s first Agriculture Minister, Dennis Normal who passed on after a long battle with cancer.
Norman (pictured), who died in the United Kingdom a few days before Christmas, was appointed Agriculture Minister by then Prime Minister the late Robert Mugabe in the new Zimbabwe soon after the country attained independence from British colonial rule.
He was later appointed transport minister, a post which saw him spearhead the establishment of the Beira Corridor and the oil pipeline still in use today.
“A long time leader of the agriculture sector before our independence in 1980, Mr Norman was among a handful of white leaders who offered to serve under a black-majority government at independence, thus validating our policy of national reconciliation following 15 years of our armed struggle against white settler colonialism,” President Mnangagwa said.
“This was a bold gesture which ended racial polarisation and laid a lasting basis for racial amity and peace in the country.”
President Mnangagwa said the late Norman was in a class of a few white leaders like David Smith, Dr Timothy Stamps, Chris Anderson who served the nation with distinction.
“As a Minister in government, Mr Norman worked hard towards a unified, non racial agricultural sector where farmers related to each other and collaborated on grounds of their calling, and not along the racial divide of colonial times,” he said.
After serving Zimbabwe in various portfolios, Norman and his wife, June, returned to England in 2003.