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 RESETTLEMENT, JULY 29, 2020.
I learnt with utter shock and a deep sense of grief of the death early this morning of Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Rtd), 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.
His commitment to the liberation of this 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 become the overall commander of 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 the settler power.
Indeed that military action, which was undertaken by a specialised ZANLA Unit which he mentored, reverberated well beyond the immediate theatre of war, and proved a turning point in the 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 redeployed to the Air Force of Zimbabwe, becoming our second indigenous Air Force 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 several professional qualifications and two masters degrees in the field 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 mobilised, motivated and supported to mechanise, modernise and climate-proof our agriculture for sustainable national food security.
Barely a month ago, we launched and 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 mechanisation, this time with the Republic of Belarus.
It was also during his short-lived ministerial tenure that he reached out to, and opened negotiations with, white former commercial farmers with a view to breaking the impasse over the age-old national land question.
Only this morning (Wednesday), we signed an 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 miss him sorely.
On behalf of the Party, Zanu PF, Government, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces of which he was a longstanding member, my family and 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 motion 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 this 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.