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Go well Gudo Guru

31 Jul 2020 at 07:36hrs | Views
ON Wednesday morning, the nation suffered a great and painful blow. Zimbabwe lost Honourable Perrance Shiri, the Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement minister. He was also a long-serving Air Marshal of the Air Force of Zimbabwe.

Cde Shiri was an illustrious and gallant son of the soil who devoted his entire life from his teenage days to the armed struggle for the liberation of the motherland, its post-war reconstruction, integration and formation of its defence and security apparatus as well as playing a sterling role in sub-region Sadc and Pan-African solidarity and unity.

He has long been a shining beacon of the Samora Machel-Soweto Generation that was ready and committed to the restoration of African military pride in the defence of the people.

The universally acknowledged professional conduct of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces owes so much to the patriotic valour, the indomitable bravery and the question for professional integrity of Cde Shiri.

Cde Shiri abandoned his secondary school studies in Wedza in 1974 to seek guerrilla military training in Tanzania, the bastion base of the militant national liberation movement. He was inspired by the ongoing Zanla battles in north east Zimbabwe.

Cde Shiri trained at Mgagao. He would be among the intrepid Zanla fighters that shunted aside squabbling and drone-like nationalists.

The youthful fighters, instead, opted to focus solely and squarely on prosecuting the armed struggle to dislodge the racist Rhodesian settler minority regime from power they had usurped as of 1890.

In 1975, the war re-started in Mozambique. The Mgagao Zanla cadres and their Zipra counterparts began prosecuting the armed struggle on a thousand-kilometre military front marked by camouflaging mountains and forests.

No more hindrance from the mighty Zambezi River as a physical military barrier.

In 1977, Cde Shiri was deployed to the war front in charge of Tete Military Province as provincial commander and member of the Zanla High Command.

As field commander, he exhibited exceptional military flair in this cradle of the Zimbabwe people's war.

Among the many highlights of his, were the guerrilla charges under his command and the gunning down of an irreverent British peer, Lord Richard Cecil in Rhodesia.

Cde Shiri was tasked with training urban guerrilla commandos from those of Zanla that had an urban background.

By December 1978, his charges had set ablaze fuel tanks in Salisbury (now Harare). This act of exceptional valour would witness pictures of a demoralised and dejected Ian Smith.

1979 saw Comrade Shiri as a peace builder. With fellow Patriotic Front guerrillas, they outmanouvred the die-hard among the defeated Rhodesian racist army.

The Lancaster House armistice was secured all the way to elections and freedom in 1980.

Cde Shiri was also the inner core of the troop integration exercise that gave birth to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and helped inculcate its much admired discipline and professionalism.

From the ashes of the sabotaged Zimbabwe Air Force at Thornhill Air Base, Cde Shiri helped rebuilt the new national air force. Its pedigree would later prove a boon in training and restructuring of the South African Air Force. Along the way solid dyeing strong sub-regional bonds.

Cde Shiri earned more battlefield medals from the Mozambique campaign as our army returned to the neighbouring nation.

Apartheid South Africans aggression had become deadly menacing.

In 1998, the venerable general Cde Shiri was back in action.

This time, he would emerge the much-adulated hero of Kinshasa, the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With 1 000 paratroopers, he routed a 10 000 troop column of combined Rwandese and Ugandan forces bent on overthrowing President Laurent Kabila (Senior).

Internally, he worked on recovering our stolen land together with other war veterans. He helped push back the regime change agenda of the last two decades.

Operation Restore Legacy of November 2017 thwarted G40s from seizing power and steadied the Zimbabwe revolution.

Lately, the hardworking Cde Shiri was leaving no stone unturned to restore national agriculture to optimal production.

He was committing every ounce of his energy to the great cause of national food security and revival of exports.

He was reaching out to erstwhile white commercial farmers, negotiating compensation and promoting the great Pvumvudza Project.

His dedication and unwavering commitment to this country was unquestionable.

In recent years, Cde Shiri traded his military fatigues for a new uniform, the green farmers' overalls, as he sought to boost agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe. Indeed, he was a true son of the soil.

On behalf of myself and the government, my condolences go to the family of our dearly departed Cde Shiri and to the nation.

Words cannot express our sorrow, to our comrade and brother we say, go well Gudo Guru.

Hon Monica Mutsvangwa (Senator) is the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services

Source - newsday
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