Daniel Chigunwe Mash Central CorrespondentTHE history of the liberation struggle in Mashonaland Central Province cannot be separated from the heroic battles led by Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri (Retired), says liberation war veteran, Cde Berry Kanengoni.
Among Cde Shiri’s battles he executed with distinction was the Sipolilo (now Guruve) Battle.
In an interview, former detachment commander in the Sipolilo district and member of the Zanu-PF National Consultative Assembly, Cde Kanengoni said the victory over the enemy during the Sipolilo Battle was made possible by the courageous exploits of Cde Shiri, whom they nicknamed Guramatunhu.
Liberation struggle history records that the nickname Guramatunhu was given to Cde Shiri, who was the commander of the Tete Province which included Mashonaland Central, after he covered the length and breadth of the province executing his duties.
“Guruve was known as the Rhodesian Forces’ fortress,” said Cde Kanengoni.
“For us to hit the enemy hard, we were led by Cde Perrance Shiri, by then we used to call him Guramatunhu because of how he journeyed and cut across territories in the Tete province which was under his command.
“He would say he would make sure he dealt with each district. He was the one who dared to go to Guruve after hearing that it was a dreaded war territory. He led us with 300 forces, including Hudson Kundayi who was sectoral commander and I was detachment commander, as well as with other two detachment security personnel.
“Previously, several forces that were deployed to Guruve found the going tough. Some disappeared in the thick forest. Cde Shiri was a soldier par excellence. He led from the front and would check on how you would be firing the gun.
“Other commanders would just deploy soldiers and go on to give reports, but Cde Shiri was different. He is a man of his words. It was my second time fighting alongside him as I had met him in Chiutsa, Mt Darwin, and he impressed me as a commander. Up to day I respect him as a true revolutionary.”
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