Shiri estate: Family demands DNA tests
By Daniel Nemukuyu
Some relatives of the late national hero Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri have requested DNA tests for some of his children despite them having birth certificates.
According to some children, this is meant to deny them their share of the estate and pave way for the grabbing of assets by some greedy relatives, friends and business partners of the former liberation war fighter, Air Force of Zimbabwe Commander and Cabinet Minister.
Sources close to the estate wrangle said the relatives only managed to find a 1995 will, which shows that the Air Chief Marshal Shiri had a house in Borrowdale and two children.
The same will appointed the now late General Solomon Mujuru and Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele as executors of the estate.
Gen Mujuru died first and the Master of High Court appointed Mr Gula-Ndebele as executor.
When he died some 25 years after signing the will, he had acquired more assets which were not part of the initial testament.
The will in question has since been accepted by the Master of High Court, who then appointed an executor.
“We hereby inform you that the deceased’s will has been accepted for administration purposes,” reads a letter to the executor.
“From our reading of the will, it would appear same nominates you (Mr Gula-Ndebele) as testament executor.
“In order that we may issue you with letters of administration, kindly complete the enclosed acceptance of the trust form and the bond of security.”
After signing the 1995 will, Cde Shiri rose through the ranks in the Air Force of Zimbabwe to become Air Chief Marshal.
At the time of his death in July, he was a Cabinet minister and had acquired more properties and purchased shares in a number of companies.
Although the assets register is still being compiled, fighting has already started on the distribution of the estate.
After his death, several children approached the family and the executor claiming to be the hero’s children, some with birth certificates.
Of the several children, only three had birth certificates bearing the national hero’s name. One of the children, Rufaro Stephanie Shiri, who registered the estate at the Master of High Court claimed some “greedy” relatives were out to deprive legitimate children of their father’s estate.
Through her lawyer, Mr Caleb Mucheche of Caleb Mucheche & Partners Law Chambers, Rufaro has written to the executor questioning the legality of DNA tests when the national hero accepted her as his daughter through an uncontested official birth certificate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our client unequivocally and categorically rejects some wild, baseless, misguided and legally misplaced insinuations and suggestions by some third parties or persons that she must undergo any DNA tests post the death of her late father who freely and voluntarily recorded his name as her father and maintained that legal status without any qualm or query up to the time of his death,” reads part of the letter.
The lawyers requested to be part of the administration of the estate and to be invited to any meeting related to the estate.
“We hereby advise that we represent Rufaro S. Shiri in this estate, who is one of the potential beneficiaries to the estate, who has a birth certificate bearing the name of the deceased as the father and a national identity card bearing the deceased’s surname,” reads the letter.
“It is against this background that our client instructs us to request your esteemed good offices to notify us about any stages and meetings involved in the administration of this estate.”
Meanwhile, the national hero’s brother, Vincent Chikerema, who worked for the late freedom fighter supervising the sale of his farm produce at Mbare and Chikwanha vegetable markets, has since filed a claim of US$4 000 in salary arrears.
In a letter to the executor, Mr Chikerema stated that he was a supervisor in his brother’s farming business getting US$800 per month. The Herald.