© PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has mourned Zimbabwe’s first post-independence Agriculture minister Dennis Norman who died in England a few days before Christmas.
In a statement, Mnangagwa hailed Norman, who died on December 20, 2019 after a long battle with cancer of the oesophagus, for being among a few white leaders who agreed to serve under a black majority government at independence.
“The death slightly over two weeks ago in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, of Zimbabwe’s long-time serving minister of Agriculture, Dennis Norman, after a long battle with cancer, has left our nation saddened.
“A long-time leader of the agriculture sector before our independence in 1980, Norman was among a handful of white leaders who offered to serve under a black majority government at independence, thus validating our policy of national reconciliation following 15 years of the armed struggle against white settler colonialism,” Mnangagwa said.
The president added that as a minister of the government Norman worked hard towards a unified, non-racial agricultural sector where farmers related to each other and collaborated on grounds of their calling and not along the racial divide of colonial times.
“Leaders like Norman, David Smith, Chris Anderson, and Timothy Stamps, all late, will be remembered in the country’s history for playing a salutary role in the formative years of our nation,” he said.
Norman, who spent a total of twelve years in the Cabinet of the late former president Robert Mugabe, also served as Transport and Energy minister before he left for England in 2003.
His appointment by Mugabe was seen as the perfect tonic to assure the restive white community that there was not going to be any retaliation for the thousands of blacks who had died during Zimbabwe’s liberation.