Rtd. Air Chief Marshal
|Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement|
|Assumed office |
30 November 2017
|Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe|
1992 – 7 December 2017
|Preceded by||Josiah Tungamirai|
|Succeeded by||Shebba Shumbayaonda (Acting)|
Bigboy Samson Chikerema
11 January 1955 (age 64)
|Awards||Grand Commander of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit |
|Branch/service||Air Force of Zimbabwe|
|Rank||Air Chief Marshal|
Air Force of Zimbabwe
Perence Shiri (born Bigboy Samson Chikerema on 11 January 1955 ) is a retired Zimbabwean air officer serving as Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement since 1 December 2017 in the Cabinet of Zimbabwe. He was the commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe and member of the Joint Operations Command which exerts day-by-day control over Zimbabwe's government.
Perence Shiri is a cousin of former President Robert Mugabe. He has called himself "Black Jesus", because according to an anonymous claim on BBC Panorama documentary "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
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.
Shiri was in command of the Zimbabwean troops at the start of the Second Congo War. It was Shiri who decided that the Zimbabwean contingent would defend N'Djili and its airport. This was in order to maintain an air route for resupply and reinforcements if needed.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Shiri was reported to have organised farm invasions by war veterans. 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 from the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi.
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.
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.
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.
Sanctions against Shiri
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. 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.
In October 2013, Shiri's son, Titus Takudzwa Chikerema, died aged 21.
- "Mnangagwa Appoints Coup Plotters to Key Ministries in Recycled Mugabe Cabinet". Voice of America.
- Orders, Decorations and Medals - Zimbabwe
- US Code Collection - Executive Order No. 13288, Cornell Law School. Retrieved on 31 March 2007.
- Air Force of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Ministry of Defence. Retrieved on 31 March 2007.
- Blair, David (2008-06-22). "Zimbabwean generals have 'taken Robert Mugabe's power'". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "The air marshal, Gaddafi and the big grain buy-up". telegraph.co.uk. 2002-08-08. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- St. John, Lauren (2007). Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War, and an African Farm. Scribner. p. 234.
- "The Price of Silence", BBC Panorama, 10 March 2002
- "British Invitation to Mugabe's Butcher". bbc.co.uk. 2002-03-08. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- "Panorama reveals what British Government knew about Mugabe's worst crimes". bbc.co.uk. 2002-03-10. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- "Mujuru plots Mugabe's ouster". zimdaily.com. 2007-02-23. Archived from the original on 2007-02-27. Retrieved 2007-04-01.
- McGreal, Chris (2008-12-11). "Bodies pile up as Mugabe wages war on diamond miners". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- Nkatazo, Lebo (2008-03-28). "Zimbabwe's defence chiefs issue threats on election eve". newzimbabwe.com. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "EU targets the henchmen". telegraph.co.uk. 2002-02-18. Retrieved 2007-03-31.
- "Zimbabwe air force head 'wounded'", BBC News
- McGreal, Chris (2008-12-16). "Zimbabwe regime blames Mugabe ally 'assassination attempt' on opposition". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
| Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe
As Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development
| Minister of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement
As Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement