Harare (New Ziana) – Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa on Wednesday Agriculture Minister, Perrance Shiri (65) who died earlier in the day, lauding his dedication and selfless service to the country and region.
Shiri, a long serving, former commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe, died on Wednesday morning from a yet undisclosed ailment.
Mutsvangwa, in a condolence message, said Shiri not only played a pivotal role in the liberation of Zimbabwe and its post independence development but also played a “sterling role in sub regional SADC and Pan African solidarity and unity.”
“He has long been a shining beacon of the Samora Machel-Soweto Generation that was ready and committed to restoration of African military pride in the defence of the people,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The universally acknowledged professional conduct of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces owes so much to the patriotic valour, the indomitable bravery and the question for professional integrity of Comrade Perrance Shiri.”
Shiri abandoned secondary education to join the country’s war of liberation and rose through the ranks to become one of the top commanders.
After independence, he became the second Commander of the Airforce of Zimbabwe.
“From the ashes of the sabotaged Zimbabwe Airforce at Thornhill Air Base, Comrade Shiri helped rebuild the new national airforce. Its pedigree would later prove a boon in training and restructuring of the South African Airforce,” Mutsvangwa said.
“Comrade Shiri earned more battlefield medals from the Mozambique campaign as our army returned to the neighbour nation.”
He also served with distinction in repelling rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mutsvangwa said Shiri had also played a key role in the push that led to the dethronement of former President Robert Mugabe, who was later replaced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Shiri later traded military fatigues for civilian life after being appointed the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement in 2017.
He has been declared a national hero.