There were moving and emotional eulogies by legislators in the National Assembly yesterday for the late Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri, which saw some lawmakers shedding tears as they recounted the contributions made by the national hero.
Bindura North legislator Cde Kenneth Musanhi (Zanu PF), broke down as he struggled to withhold tears while making his contribution.
In the end, Cde Musanhi had to prematurely end his debate as he narrated how close he was and how he worked with Cde Shiri in Mashonaland Central Province to repel efforts by G40 elements.
Cde Musanhi said Cde Shiri helped them from the background to give direction and advice on how to repel the influence of G40 members in Mashonaland Central. Fugitive and former Cabinet minister Saviour “Tyson” Kasukuwere was the face of the G40 in Mashonaland Central. “We fought together against G40. Tyson was a tough guy. Cde Shiri would just give me advice from the background saying he ought not to be seen,” said Cde Musanhu.
Cde Felex Mhona (Zanu PF) who represents Chikomba Central, the constituency from where Cde Shiri hailed, said the late national hero was a man of integrity. He said he learnt a lot from Cde Shiri since they hailed from the same village under Headman Mukandatsama and Chief Mutekedza.
“His meekness and humility was a marvel to the people of Njanja, Chikomba Central,” said Cde Mhona.
He said the Covid-19 death of Cde Shiri denied villagers to be part of the burial at the national shrine since there were restrictions on the number of people to attend funerals in compliance with World Health Organisation guidelines.
Zanu-PF Chief Whip, Cde Pupurai Togarepi, said Cde Shiri gave him words of encouragement during his time when he went through political turbulence. “At one point in my political life I faced challenges. He would give me confidence when chips were down,” he said.
Cde Shiri was a rare breed of Cabinet minister who was punctual and responded well to questions from backbenchers. “He was a special minister. I am sure President (Mnangagwa) was proud of him. He was a rare breed, very loyal, a decorated officer,” said Cde Togarepi.
Hatfield MP Dr Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said his party saluted veterans of the liberation struggle such as Cde Shiri whom he described as an icon. “He fought the bitter war to liberate this country. He left the country at a tender age. Veterans of the liberation struggle are celebrated regardless of one’s political persuasion,” said Dr Mashakada.
Norton MP, Temba Mliswa (Independent), had moved the motion to remember the great work done by Cde Shiri, who died in July. Mr Mliswa narrated how he interacted with Cde Shiri saying the late national hero would reign him in whenever he showed delinquent behaviour.
He said Cde Shiri never sought to abuse his power even against adversaries. Mr Mliswa proposed that there be a military barracks named after Cde Shiri.
Legislators also remembered Kwekwe Central MP, Masango “Blackman” Matambanadzo.
They described the late Matambanadzo as a fountain of wisdom despite his curtailed formal education.