Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Minister has died of Covid-19 at the age of 65, a day after two legislators tested positive for the disease.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the death of retired air force marshal Perrance Shiri on Wednesday.
“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.
He then joined President Mnangagwa’s first Cabinet.
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.
He was hospitalised on Tuesday just days after his driver succumbed to Covid-19 at the weekend.
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.