Masvingo seeks heroine status for Mahofa

HARARE - The Zanu PF Masvingo Province has written to the politburo requesting that its late forthright Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa — who collapsed and died on Monday morning — be declared a national heroine.

Mahofa, 76, who died in the early hours of Monday, had been unwell for some time, although she had always insisted to be in good health.
The Zanu PF politburo has the sole responsibility of deciding on who should be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira yesterday confirmed to the Daily News that they wrote the letter on Monday.
“Yes, we have since made the request, which we submitted yesterday (Monday). We are now just waiting for the response from the politburo,” Chadzamira said.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he is not aware of when the politburo is set to convene to make a determination on the issue.
“Letters are sent to the secretary for administration, so I wouldn’t know,” Khaya Moyo said.

Efforts to get a comment from the party’s secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo were fruitless yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Known in Masvingo as the Iron Lady because of her abrasive style, Mahofa collapsed at her house in Rhodene — a low density suburb on the northern side of the city centre — and was pronounced dead before she could be attended to at Makurira Memorial Clinic — in the same city.

She is survived by four children and 27 grandchildren.
Mahofa entered into politics in the late 1950s, after she joined the National Democratic Party from 1959-1960, before becoming a Zapu member in 1961. She later joined Zanu PF in 1979 and had been a member until the time of her death.

In December 2015, she survived suspected food poisoning at a Zanu PF conference held in the resort town of Victoria Falls, and spent close to six months in hospital.
She never regained her health from then on.

A hugely divisive figure in her home povince, Mahofa was hated and liked in equal measure. Her trademarks were apple-polishing and inflammatory rhetoric.
She was a darling of the Team Lacoste faction, which is campaigning for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Naturally, she had no sympathisers among members of the Generation 40 (G40) faction.
The veteran Masvingo politician, who played an instrumental role in the expulsion of former vice president Joice Mujuru, was widely revered as the Zanu PF political godmother in the volatile province.

In his Heroes Day message on Monday following the news of Mahofa’s death, Mugabe, revealed how a fortnight ago he had inquired into her health at a Zanu PF politburo meeting held at the party’s headquarters in Harare and was told she was fine.

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