Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa congratulates Perence Shiri, the new minister of Land, Agriculture and Land Resettlement after the swearing-in of Cabinet ministers at State House in Harare, Zimbabwe December 4, 2017. PHOTO | REUTERS
Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister has died of Covid-19 at the age of 65, a day after two legislators tested positive for the disease.
“I am deeply saddened to inform the nation of the death of the Minister of Agriculture Retired Air Marshall Perrance Shiri, a long time friend and colleague,” President Mnangagwa said.
“Comrade Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country.”
Shiri was the commander of Zimbabwe’s Air Force until the 2017 military coup that toppled long time ruler Robert Mugabe.
A veteran of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war, Shiri was the commander of a North Korean trained army unit blamed for the massacre of over 20,000 civilians soon after the country’s independence.
Zimbabwe has recorded a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks and on Tuesday the country’s caseload shot to 2,817 after 113 new infections were reported.
The Health ministry said four more people had died, bringing the total number of those that have succumbed to the pandemic to 40.
To curb the spread of infections, President Mnangagwa last week imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and reintroduced tighter controls on business operations as well as stay-at-home guidelines.
Health workers, including nurses, have been on strike for over a month demanding salaries in foreign currency as the re-introduced Zimbabwe dollar continues to lose value.
Senior doctors are expected to join the strike this week, while their juniors issued a two-week notice to down tools protesting against poor pay and lack of personal protective equipment.
World news – ZA – Zimbabwe Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri dies of Covid-19