CONDOLENCE MESSAGE BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT, CDE EMMERSON DAMBUDZO MNANGAGWA, FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF AIR CHIEF MARSHAL (Rtd) PERRANCE SHIRI, MINISTER OF LANDS, AGRICULTURE, WATER AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, 29TH JULY, 2020.
I learnt with utter shock and a deep sense of grief of the death early this morning of Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Perrance Shiri, our Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, after a short illness.
A stalwart of our war of National Liberation, Cde Shiri ranked high among our leading Zanla Field Commanders whose contribution to the National Liberation Struggle was simply valiant and outstanding.
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His commitment to the liberation of his country and his people amply showed when he, alongside our Vice President, General C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, abandoned his studies at Mount Saint Mary’s Mission School in Wedza in 1973 and defied all odds to join the Liberation Struggle at a very tender age.
Once fully trained and battle-hardened, the late Cde Shiri rose through the ranks to became the overall commander of the Tete Province, one of the hottest fronts in the war.
Under his command, several spectacular missions against the enemy were carried out, among them the 1978 blasting of oil tanks in the then Salisbury, itself the heart and citadel of settler power.
Indeed that military action which was undertaken by a specialized ZANLA Unit which he mentored, reverberated well beyond the immediate theatre of war and proved a turning point in our Struggle for National Liberation.
After the Struggle, he would continue serving his country in the Military, including playing a salutary role in the Integration Process by which erstwhile warring armies were re-oriented and re-moulded into a cohesive National Army.
Later, he would be re-deployed to the Airforce of Zimbabwe, becoming our second indigenous Airforce of Zimbabwe Commander, after the late Cde Josiah Tungamirai.
While he discharged his onerous command duties, he still found time to further his education, in the process acquiring in the fields of Business and Development.
Always focused, hardworking and hands-on, the late Minister Shiri was key to revamping our food sector by ensuring our farmers were fully mobilized, motivated and supported to mechanize, modernize and climate-proof our agriculture for sustainable national food security.
Barely a month ago, we launched an agricultural equipment initiative he concluded with an American company, John Deere.
Except for his untimely demise, we would have launched yet another of his many initiatives on mechanization, this time with the Republic of Belarus.
It was also during the short-lived ministerial tenure that he reached out to, and opened negotiations with, former white commercial farmers with a view to breaking the impasse over the age-old National Land Question.
Only this morning, we signed a historic agreement with the former farmers, itself a crowning moment for his tireless efforts.
Sadly as fate would have it, he would not live to witness this historic moment!
We will miss him sorely.
On behalf of the Party, Zanu-PF, Government, the Zimbabwe Defence Force of which he was a long-standing member, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the entire Shiri Family, especially his children who now stand orphaned.
As they go through the painful motions of deep grief, I urge them to find comfort and solace in the distinguished role and career of continuous service which their father gave to his country.
He remains our hero together, making his demise a blow we all keenly feel and share.
May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.
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