Harare, July 31, (dpa/GNA) – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday that Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri had died of Covid-19.
Shiri died early on Wednesday, the most senior official to contract the disease the cash-strapped government is battling to contain.
Mnangagwa made the statement at the residence of the 65-year-old retired general who had headed the country’s air force.
“Now that it is confirmed that Minister Shiri died of Covid 19, we will follow World Health Organisation regulations on how the funeral should proceed tomorrow at the national heroes acre to rest our hero,” Mnangagwa said.
Shiri was among those who helped Mnangagwa depose long-time president Robert Mugabe in a November 2017 military intervention.
After his death Mnangagwa released a statement saying: “Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country.”
Shiri is one of the 41 people who have died of the virus so far in the country, where 2,879 have been infected.
Some in Zimbabwe celebrated Shiri’s death on social media, as he had led a North Korea-trained army unit that killed thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe, as the government allegedly sought to quell an insurgency between 1982 and 1987.