HomeLocal NewsMahofa under probe for poaching

Mahofa under probe for poaching


ZANU PF Masvingo “Iron Lady” and former Gender and Youth Development deputy minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa is under probe for poaching after the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) and police reportedly confiscated three buffalo carcasses and other plain game meat from her butchery at Mpandawana growth point in Gutu on Tuesday, it has been learnt.

Report by Tatenda Chitagu

The latest report came against the backdrop of heightened poaching activities in the Lowveld wildlife sanctuary with several butcheries in Masvingo, Bikita, Birchenough Bridge and elsewhere even in the capital Harare reportedly selling suspected poached game meat.

Mahofa’s alleged poaching followed disclosures that a four-member panel set up by the Zanu PF politburo comprising ministers Ignatius Chombo, Francis Nhema, Herbert Murerwa and Walter Mzembi to look into the troubled Save Valley Conservancy (SVC) hotspot threatening to create further divisions in the volatile Masvingo province, had never met three months after it was established.

The panel was tasked to look into the possibility of turning SVC into a national park, among other options, effectively reversing the issuance of the 25-year leases. The hunting concession scandal at SVC has also threatened Zimbabwe’s joint hosting with Zambia of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation indaba next August.
Most of the beneficiaries granted the 25-year leases at the prime wildlife sanctuary were Zanu PF politicians and top military officials.

Although no official comment could be obtained from Zimparks and the provincial police spokesperson Inspector Peter Zhaneiro, who referred questions to the Police General Headquarters in Harare, impeccable sources told NewsDay that police recovered the buffalo carcasses on Tuesday.

Mahofa, former long-serving Gutu South MP, recently took over a wildlife conservancy from its white former owner.

However, impeccable sources privy to the probe said that the Zimparks crack team and the police acting on a tip-off, raided Mahofa’s butchery in Gutu and found game meat and three buffalo carcasses stashed in the butchery.

The sources said as a conservancy owner, Mahofa was now being investigated to see if she had wantonly shot the animals.

“The hunting season is still on and conservancy owners are allowed to take carcasses after trophy hunters shoot the animals after paying for hunting licences. But now the question is whether there were hunters in her conservancy or she just shot the animals herself to sell the meat in her butchery,” the sources said.

“As of now, investigations are still underway and her verdict will be known once we ascertain whether or not she entertained professional hunters at her conservancy.”

Among the Zanu PF bigwigs allocated concessions in the Lowveld were Mahofa, the late Stan Mudenge, Titus Maluleke, Lieutenant Colonel David Moyo, Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Retired Colonel Claudius Makova, Assistant Commissioner Connel Dube, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Brigadier General Livingstone Chineka, and Masvingo Provincial Intelligence Officer Chibaya.

Health deputy minister Douglas Mombeshora, Zanu PF central committee member Enock Porusingazi, MPs Ailess Baloyi, Abraham Sithole, Samson Mukanduri, Noel Mandebvu, Ronald Rundava, war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba and the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda’s son, Tongai, are also on the list of the controversial recipients.

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