National hero, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Rtd) died of Covid-19 and will be buried today in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, President Mnangagwa said.

Cde Shiri died early Wednesday.

He was 65.

Addressing mourners at the late ACM Shiri’s Borrowdale home yesterday, President Mnangagwa said test results had shown that the minister succumbed to Covid-19.

Among those paying respects were Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, ministers who included Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Cde Kazembe Kazembe, Cde Paul Mavima, Cde Sekai Nzenza, Ministers of State Cde Monica Mavhunga, Cde Ellen Gwaradzimba and Cde Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, service chiefs, Members of Parliament and Politburo members.

They joined family members at the sombre funeral wake as they paid respects to the family that gave Zimbabwe one of its most illustrious sons.

“The results came today and they indicate that Cde Shiri succumbed to Covid-19. This means his funeral and burial arrangements will no longer follow the normal procedures, but will be guided by the WHO guidelines,” said President Mnangagwa.

Ordinarily, the body of a national hero would be taken to his rural home, then pass through the historic Stodart Hall before a procession for interment at the National Heroes Acre.

However, under the Covid-19 pandemic rules, only 50 people will be allowed at the National Heroes Acre and traditional practices will be suspended in line with the WHO guidelines.

“We should follow the WHO guidelines which also include social distancing and sanitisation. There are few people who came here. In normal circumstances there would have been multitudes of people. Nevertheless, we stand guided by WHO guidelines and we should follow them,” the President said.