Minister
Perrance Shiri
Air-Marshall-Perrance-Shiri.jpg
BornBigboy Samson Chikerema
Wedza
Died2020
Harare
EducationMount Saint Mary's School
Occupation
  • Minister
EmployerGovernment of Zimbabwe
OrganizationMinistry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement
Known forBeing the Commander of the 5th Brigade that was implicated in the Matabeleland killings in the 1980s
Political partyZanu PF


Perrance Shiri was a Zimbabwean politician and a retired four-star general in the Air Force of Zimbabwe. He was the Minister of Lands Agriculture and Rural Resettlement at the time of his death. Shiri retired from the Air Force of Zimbabwe where he was the Commander to pursue a career in politics. He was promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshall on retirement.

Background

He was born Bigboy Samson Chikerema on 11 January 1955.[1] Perrance Shiri was his liberation war name. In October 2013, Shiri's son, Titus Takudzwa Chikerema, died aged 21 after a short illness.[2]

Military Career

In 1986, Shiri was granted a place at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.In 1992, Shiri was appointed as the commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, taking over from Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.

Assassination Attempt

Shiri was shot in the arm on 13 December 2008 and was admitted at an undisclosed hospital in Harare. He was reportedly ambushed on the way to his farm, which was seized from a white farmer in 2000. Then Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi, claimed the attack on Shiri had been an attempt to destabilise the country.[3]

Involvement in

DRC

Shiri was named in the UN security Council Report Plundering of DR Congo natural resources: Final report of the Panel of Experts (S/2002/1146), paragraph 27, as being involved in military procurement and organizing air support for the pro-Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was also part of the inner circle of ZDF diamond traders who turned Harare into a significant illicit diamond-trading centre. [4]

2008 Election

In the days before the Presidential Election, Shiri along with other Zimbabwean defences Chiefs, allegedly held a press conference where they stated that defence and security forces had been deployed across the country to maintain order.In a remark against the Movement for Democratic Change - Tsvangirai the defence chiefs were reported to have stated that it would be a criminal act for anyone to declare himself the winner of the election.They reportedly mentioned that such a statement must only be made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.[5]

Diamond Mines

In 2008 some Zimbabwean lawyers and opposition politicians from Mutare claimed that Shiri was the prime mover behind the military assaults on illegal diggers in the diamond mines in the east of Zimbabwe.[6]

Food Shortages

In 2002, in response to the subsequent food shortage, it was reported that Robert Mugabe dispatched Shiri to South Africa to purchase maize. This undertaking was reportedly backed by a credit note for the equivalent of Pound sterling £ 17 million from the late former Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi Colonel Gaddafi.

Farm Invasions

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Shiri was reported to have organized farm invasions by war veterans.[7]

Gukurahundi

Shiri was the first commander of the 5th Brigade, a special unit in the army of Zimbabwe known to have caused deaths mostly in Matabeleland and Midlands Province that have come to be known as Gukurahundi. From 1983 to 1984, the Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade, under Shiri's command, was reported to be responsible as thousands of civilians were killed and thousands tortured.

Death

Shiri was reported to have died on 29 July 2020 by Independent Norton legislator Temba Mliswa on his twitter handle. This comes a few days after his personal driver died of coronavirus and the former minister was hospitalised after that. He has been declared a national hero today at the Zanu PF Politburo meeting and is due to be buried at the National Heroes Acre. President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed that Shiri died of Covid-19 whilst addressing mourners at the late Minister's Borrowdale, Harare, home on 30 July 2020.[8]

References

  1. EU Sanctions, MDC Warns Amendment Sabotage, Change Zimbabwe, published: February 3, 2009, retrieved: September 23, 2016,
  2. Air Marshall Shiri’s son dies, Herald, published: October 22, 2013, retrieved: March 2, 2018
  3. Daniel Howden, 'Assassination attempt' on Mugabe henchman, Independent, published: December 17, 2008, retrieved: March 1, 2018
  4. [1], UN Security Council, Published: 16 October 2002, Retrieved: August 2019
  5. Nkatazo, Lebo (2008-03-28). "Zimbabwe's defence chiefs issue threats on election eve". newzimbabwe.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  6. McGreal, Chris (2008-12-11). "Bodies pile up as Mugabe wages war on diamond miners". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  7. [www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressleases/stories/2002/03/march/10/panoramamugabe.shtml "Panorama reveals what British Government knew about Mugabe's worst crimes"] Check |url= value (help). bbc.co.uk. 2002-03-10. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
  8. [2], The Herald, Published: 30 July, 2020, Accessed: 30 July, 2020