Perence Shiri

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Perence Shiri
Born 11 January 1955
Allegiance Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Service/branch Air Force of Zimbabwe
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade
Air Force of Zimbabwe
Awards Grand Commander of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit [1]

Air Marshal Perence Shiri (born 11 January 1955[2]) is the current commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe[3] and a member of the Joint Operations Command which exerts day-by-day control over Zimbabwe's government.[4]

Perence Shiri is a cousin of President Robert Mugabe.[5] He has called himself Black Jesus,[6] because according to an anonymous claim on BBC's program "The Price of Silence," he "could determine your life like Jesus Christ. He could heal, raise the dead, whatever. So he claimed to be like that because he could say if you live or not."

Military and political actions[edit]

From 1983 to 1984, the Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade, under Shiri's command, was responsible for a reign of terror in Matabeleland. During the slaughter, thousands of civilians were killed and thousands more were tortured. Despite this, in 1986, Shiri was granted a place at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London.[7]

In 1992, Shiri was appointed as the commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, taking over from Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai.[3]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Shiri was reported to have organised farm invasions by war veterans.[8] In 2002, in response to the subsequent food shortage, Mugabe dispatched Shiri to South Africa to purchase maize. This undertaking was backed by a credit note for the equivalent of 17 million GBP from the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.[5]

With the Mugabe government facing increasing problems, the Zimbabwean press reported in February 2007 that Shiri was regularly attending General Solomon Mujuru’s unofficial meetings with other senior military commanders and some political leaders. These meetings had discussed forcing Mugabe to the polls in 2008 with a view to his replacement as president.[9]

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.[10]

2008 election[edit]

In the days before the 2008 Zimbabwean presidential election Shiri, along with other Zimbabwean Defence chiefs, held a press conference where they stated that defence and security forces had been deployed across the country to maintain order. In a remark aimed against the Movement for Democratic Change, the defence chiefs stated that it would be a criminal act for anyone to declare himself the winner of the election. They maintained that such a statement must only be made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.[11]

Sanctions against Shiri[edit]

In 2002 the European Union barred Shiri from entering the EU[12] and on 6 March 2003, George W. Bush ordered the blocking of any of Shiri's property in the United States.[2]

Assassination attempt[edit]

Shiri was ambushed on 13 December 2008, while driving to his farm. According to police, he was accosted by unknown people who shot at his car. Thinking one of his tyres had burst he got out and was subsequently shot in the arm.[13] It has been speculated that the assassination attempt may have been a response to Shiri's attacks on illegal diamond miners in 2008 or because of his role in Matabeleland in the 1980s.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Orders, Decorations and Medals - Zimbabwe
  2. ^ a b US Code Collection - Executive Order No. 13288, Cornell Law School. Retrieved on 31 March 2007.
  3. ^ a b Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Ministry of Defence. Retrieved on 31 March 2007.
  4. ^ Blair, David (2008-06-22). "Zimbabwean generals have 'taken Robert Mugabe's power'". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  5. ^ a b "The air marshal, Gaddafi and the big grain buy-up". telegraph.co.uk. 2002-08-08. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  6. ^ St. John, Lauren. Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War, and an African Farm. p. 234. 
  7. ^ "British Invitation to Mugabe's Butcher". bbc.co.uk. 2002-03-08. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Panorama reveals what British Government knew about Mugabe’s worst crimes". bbc.co.uk. 2002-03-10. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  9. ^ "Mujuru plots Mugabe's ouster". zimdaily.com. 2007-02-23. Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  10. ^ McGreal, Chris (2008-12-11). "Bodies pile up as Mugabe wages war on diamond miners". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  11. ^ Nkatazo, Lebo (2008-03-28). "Zimbabwe's defence chiefs issue threats on election eve". newzimbabwe.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  12. ^ "EU targets the henchmen". telegraph.co.uk. 2002-02-18. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  13. ^ "Zimbabwe air force head 'wounded'", BBC News
  14. ^ McGreal, Chris (2008-12-16). "Zimbabwe regime blames Mugabe ally 'assassination attempt' on opposition". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
Military offices
Preceded by
J Tungamirai
Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe
1992–
Incumbent