Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial executive has approached the politburo requesting that the late Provincial Affairs minister and Gutu Senator Shuvai Mahofa be declared a national heroine.
Mahofa succumbed to what her close associates claimed was “food poisoning” she consumed at the Zanu-PF annual conference in Victoria Falls in December 2015.
Provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira told NewsDay yesterday that the request was sent to the politburo on Monday.
“We wrote to the party leadership yesterday (Monday) requesting that Honourable Mahofa be declared a national heroine. As a province, we recommend national heroine status. Her death is a great loss. She was a mother, unifier, leader and a teacher. That’s a loss for Masvingo,” Chadzamira said.
Mahofa was a towering political figure in the province earning the moniker “Chikoforo” (cultivator) linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed President Robert Mugabe in the ongoing internal Zanu-PF power struggle.
First Lady Grace Mugabe – a leading figure in a rival faction known as G40 – last month lashed out at Mahofa after the veteran Zanu-PF politician “omitted” President Robert Mugabe’s wife from her slogans.
Politburo member and another Mnangagwa loyalist, Josiah Hungwe described Mahofa’s death as a tragedy.
“As a result of this tragedy, I had to represent her today at the provincial shrine. We have written to the politburo, I hope that by the end of the holiday, we will process everything. The response may be given on Thursday. Just keep your ears open to what would have been arranged,” Hungwe said.
While the cause of Mahofa’s death was yet to be made public, Zanu-PF Parliamentary Chief Whip Lovemore Matuke said the late Provincial Affairs minister had indicated that her health problems were a result of the poison she allegedly ingested in 2015.
“That is what she always said and it is difficult for anyone to put her death past that,” Matuke told NewsDay on Monday.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo was not available for comment, while party secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo to whom requests for heroes’ status were directed was not answering his mobile phone.