Perrance Shiri, the former army general blamed for the deaths of thousands of minority Ndebele people in post-independence war massacres has died aged 65.
Initial reports alleged that Shiri had died of COVID-19, however, according to some close source, Shiri did not die of corona virus but food poisoning together with his driver at the rally in Rushinga.
Officials in Shiri’s ministry, in off-the-record briefings, said the former minister initially fell sick two weeks ago following a trip to Rushinga. He thought he had been poisoned, according to the sources, before his driver tested positive for the virus which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.
“We are suspecting food poisoning but they are going to pin it on Covid.
“When they came back from Rushinga last week, the driver was complaining of heart burn. On Friday he went to work but Minister Shiri did not go to work. He had already started feeling funny like heart burn just like the driver,” said a close source who asked for anonymity.
Shiri was agriculture minister after retiring as Air Force commander in 2017, having plotted with other military commanders to topple the late former president Robert Mugabe.
Shiri, who was not married, died alone in his vehicle in the early hours of Wednesday while trying to drive himself to a private hospital nearby.
He called two trusted friends – Norton MP Temba Mliswa and his ministry’s permanent secretary John Bhasera – to come to his assistance, but he was dead by the time they arrived.
Sources said he had Covid-19. His driver was buried last Saturday after succumbing to the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Shiri missed Cabinet on Tuesday. He visited a private hospital in Belgravia on Monday and Tuesday, but was allowed to return home.
Shiri was known as ‘Black Jesus’ because he could decide whether victims lived or died.