Zimbabwe’s minister of Lands and Agriculture, Perrance Shiri has succumbed to the coronavirus leaving the country divided over his legacy.
Some revere him while some say he has gone too soon as he has many unatoned sins. Below are some of the messages following the death of a fighter in the liberation struggle.
President Mnangagwa tweeted his condolences:
I am deeply saddened to inform the Nation of the death of the Minister of Agriculture, Air Chief Marshall (rtd) Perrance Shiri, a long time friend and colleague. Cde Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country.MHRIP
Exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere weighed in:
Deepest condolences on the sad departure of Rtd Marshall Shiri. Zororai zvakanaka Muturikwa, Mangwende [Rest in Peace Mangwende]. MHDSRIP.
Another exiled former government minister, professor Jonathan Moyo, a victim of the infamous Matebeleland and Midlands massacres of the 1980s, described Shiri’s death as tragic. He said:
It’s tragic that Perence Shiri has departed without facing justice over the gukurahundi atrocities he committed in Matabeleland & Midlands provinces in the 1980s; nor telling the truth about those atrocities to help heal the nation. May God rest Shiri’s victims in eternal peace!
Matebeleland-based journalist Zenzele Ndebele who has been championing the justice for Gukurahundi victims movement had no kind words for the former Airforce commander. He said:
A lot of women were raped by soldiers under the command of this man, Lots of children were left orphans coz of this man. A lot of women are widows coz of this man. He was the face of Gukurahundi. His brutality was unmatched. Our modern-day Hitler. He was merciless # Asakhe
Another Gukurahundi said:
My grandfather would have enjoyed the news today, COVID19 did it bakithi. He told me a lost of painful stories about this Gukurahundist and today he joins his ancestors. Okungapheliyo kuyahlola [Nothing lasts forever].
To enhance the division in the country over Shiri’s death, the governing ZANU PF views his departure as a dark moment for the nation. The party said:
A dark cloud has befallen us as the nation is plunged in deep mourning at the sad and untimely passing on of ZANU PF Politburo member and Minister of Agriculture, Air Chief Marshall (rtd) Perrance Shiri. May his Dearest Soul Rest in Eternal Peace
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