Perence Shiri, the minister of Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement has died.
The retired Air Chief Marshal reportedly died in the early hours of the morning. His co-deputy Minister, Vangelis Haritatos confirmed the news in a facebook post.
“I received a call in the early hours of this morning with shocking news. It is with a heavy heart that I learnt of the passing on of Air Chief Marshall (RTD) P. Shiri,” the deputy minister wrote on his Facebook profile.
“I have worked with Cde. Shiri for almost two years now as his deputy minister. He was an extremely hard worker, dedicated to our Nation, a patriot, and a nationalist. I will truly miss him and promise to continue with his vision of making Zimbabwe the breadbasket of Africa once again. Go well Honourable Minister Shiri.” Said Haritatos.
The name Perence Shiri was his liberation war nom de guerre. His birth name was Bigboy Samson Chikerema, born on the 11th of January 1955. He hailed from the Mashonaland Central province of Zimbabwe.
Shiri was named in the UN security Council Report Plundering of DR Congo natural resources: Final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146), paragraph 27, as being involved in military procurement and organizing air support for the pro-Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was also part of the inner circle of ZDF diamond traders who turned Harare into a significant illicit diamond-trading centre at the height of the Chiadzwa diamond mining activities between 2008.
At its height the Chiadzwa diamond fields In terms of carats was the largest diamond producing project in the world, estimated to have produced 16.9 million carats in 2013, or 13% of global rough diamond supply.
While the cause of his death is yet to be known, it follows hard on the heels of the death of his personal driver’s death this past week. The driver reportedly succumbed to complications from a Covid 19 infection.
Perence Shiri is the former commander of the notorious 5th brigade, that is blamed for the Matabeleland atrocities in the 1980s, known as Gukurahundi.
There have been mixed reactions to the news of the former minister’s death by social media users with some expressing sadness while a sizable number had no kind words for him. Some said that they’d wished he lived long enough to have his day in court over the gukurahundi massacres while some pointed out that since the elite now can’t fly out of the country to go and receive first class medical attention abroad, Shiri’s death should serve as a wake up call for the government to invest in the local heath delivery system where top officials can also go for medical attention.
Below are some social media comments on Perence Shiri’s death.
More to follow on this story…