By Grace Chekai
The late Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Retired (Rtd) Air Chief Marshall Perence Shiri who died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, has been unanimously declared a national hero.
Speaking in his condolence message yesterday, President Mnangagwa said of Minister Shiri, “Once fully trained and battle-hardened, the late Cde Shiri rose through the ranks to become 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.”
The late Minister Shiri was born on 11 January 1955 in Mashonaland East Province.
He abandoned his studies at Mount Saint Mary`s Mission School in Wedza in 1973 to join the Liberation Struggle.
After the Liberation Struggle, Minister Shiri continued serving the country in the Military.
In 1992, Minister Shiri was appointed as the commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, taking over from the late Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.
Minister Shiri acquired several professional qualifications and two Masters Degrees in the fields of Business and Development.
He was appointed Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement on 30 November 2017.
He was key in revamping the food sector and ensuring that farmers are fully mobilized and motivated.
President Mnangagwa said, “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.”
During his ministerial tenure, the late Chief Air Marshal reached out to former white commercial farmers with a view to breaking the impasse over the age-old National Land Question.