Mahofa declared national hero

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF yesterday did not allow the party’s factional wars to sway them in honouring the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa when they ignored internal divisions and unanimously conferred her with national heroine status.

Mahofa, who died aged 76 in the early hours of Monday, was a strong pillar of a faction backing Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe which is being fought in its bid by the Generation 40, a group of young Turks that reportedly has First Lady Grace Mugabe’s backing.

“ . . . president Mugabe has conferred national heroine status on the late . . .  Mahofa who died on August 14, at Makurira Memorial Hospital in Masvingo.

“This decision came after the politburo met . . . to deliberate on the request by the Masvingo provincial leadership.

“The politburo was unanimous that the work done by . . . Mahofa before and after independence merited that she should be interred at the national shrine.

“The date for the burial will be announced in due course after consultations with the family,” Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo told a news conference last night.

A hugely divisive figure in her home, Mahofa was hated and liked in equal measure.

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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