On Wednesday, Zimbabweans woke up to learn that Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, Perrence Shiri had died to suspected Covid-19. The Minister’s death at the age of 65, comes after his driver succumbed to Covid-19 a few days earlier.
The death of the former Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander has resulted in mixed feelings, however. Shiri’s has always been dogged with accusations of genocide following his time as the Commander of the 5th Brigade in the 1980s. The unit has been accused of killing approximately 20 000 people during the Gukurahundi Massacres.
Some social media users highlighted that Shiri, just like former President Robert Mugabe, died without accounting for his alleged crimes. Others said that they would not shed a tear for the Retired Air Chief Marshal while others actually celebrated the news of his demise saying that death is the ultimate equalizer.
Some, however, mourned Shiri and paid tribute to him saying that he was a visionary who was working hard to improve his country.
Below are some of the reactions from social media,
Perrence Shiri, the Black Jesus, was responsible for the horrific death of thousands of people in Matebeleland, along with the rape and mutilation of women and girls.
— Team Pachedu 🇿🇼 (@PacheduZW) July 29, 2020
A hero of the liberation struggle and a villain in the independent Zimbabwe…Post independent Zimbabwe gukurahundi attrocities will be an albatross around his neck…And he will be remembered for that…All the same go well Cde!! pic.twitter.com/4PzeuDJapw
— Elias Mambo/Zim Morning Post 🇿🇼🇲🇼 (@elias_mambo) July 29, 2020
Deepest condolences on the sad departure of Rtd Marshall Shiri. Zororai zvakanaka Muturikwa, Mangwende. MHDSRIP. pic.twitter.com/XFX0TBF9sl
— Saviour Kasukuwere (@Hon_Kasukuwere) July 29, 2020
A dark cloud hovers over our motherland. We have lost an astute and sagacious leader who was hands on. Words fail me.Loading...
— Tendai Chirau (@TendaiChirau) July 29, 2020
Sad he died before he apologized to the people in Matabeleland and Zimbabwe for killing thousands during Gukururahundi
— Blessing Manatsa (@bemanatsa) July 29, 2020
Hey Raj. We the constituents of Bulawayo South do not care about the death of the Butcher of Bhalangwe. Are you still our parliamentary rep?
— Thabisa Sibanda (@SibandaSibbs) July 29, 2020
Zimbabwe's Lands minister Perrance Shiri has died of Covid-19. Viewed by some as a heroic figure in the country's armed liberation struggle, he is equally viewed by others as a murderous soldier who led the slaughter of thousands of civilians in a genocide in Matabeleland.
— Brezh Malaba (@BrezhMalaba) July 29, 2020
Respected journalists such as @BrezhMalaba are reporting that Perance Shiri, commander of the North Korean trained 5 Brigade & responsible for crimes against humanity committed against the people of Matabeleland & Midlands in the 1980s, has died of #COVID19 . #Zimbabwe
— David Coltart (@DavidColtart) July 29, 2020
I hope it's true
— Çöŕñëĺïüš Mateko🇿🇲🇿🇼 (@Conilious) July 29, 2020
Your Legend……My grandmother died in the 80s….today she will rest….she won't celebrate, its not our culture to dance when others are mourning…..But neither will she mourn because today, some of her questions as to why she was tortured to a pulp go unanswered…
— MabuthoThabethe (@MabuthoThabethe) July 29, 2020
Legend yok'nuka. Between 1983-1987 he was in Matabeleland, burying people alive, bayoneting pregnant women' stomachs and forcing mother's to eat the foetuses. Raping young girls and women. Ndithi mna good riddance to bad rubbish!
— Umzwangendaba (@GojiyasiKhumalo) July 29, 2020