Zimbabwe’s first minister of Agriculture Dennis Norman died in Oxfordshire in December last year, reports from England have said.

Norman also famed for being part of the initiation of the Beira Corridor and subsequent established of the Féria oil pipeline passed on Friday December 20 after a long battle against cancer of the oesophagus.

Norman was appointed by Zimbabwe’s inaugural Prime Minister Robert Mugabe reportedly at the suggestion of the late Lord Soames.

Reports say Norman’s appointment after a long and bitter racial war that cost in the region of 35 000 lives came as a huge surprise.

At the time, it was seen as a strong and meaningful appointment that underscored Mugabe’s determination to cement racial and political reconciliation in a war-torn country.

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Norman was later appointed as Minister of Transport, the post that saw him spearhead the establishment of the Beira Corridor and the oil pipeline still in use today.

After serving Zimbabwe in various portfolios, Denis Norman and his wife, June, returned to England.

His death will be mourned by all those who knew him, worked with him and admired his honesty, integrity and ability to heal old racial wounds by doing so much to bring about the prosperity of thousands of small-scale black farmers while underlining the importance of experienced white commercial farmers and growers, once the backbone of a thriving agricultural sector of the economy.

“One of the great men of the post-Independence era is no longer with us. It is hard to believe we will ever see the likes of him again in Zimbabwe,”Trevor Grundy who reported his death in England said. (Additional reporting by Rex Mphisa)