President Robert Mugabe yesterday conferred the late Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa with national heroine status.
By Everson Mushava/ Xolisani Ncube/Tatenda Chitagu
The decision, announced after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, came after Masvingo province requested for her to be declared a national hero.
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo said the decision came after the party’s politburo met late yesterday afternoon 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,” he said.
“The date for the burial will be announced in due course after consultations with the family.”
Mahofa died on Monday at Makurira Memorial Hospital in Masvingo in what those linked to Zanu PF’s Team Lacoste faction, said to be loyal to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, allege was a result of food poisoning some two years ago.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial political commissar, Jeppy Jaboon, and Fiona Ricket, a member of the Children of Zimbabwe War Veterans’ Association, believed to be pro-G40 members, were on Tuesday reportedly ejected from Mahofa’s funeral wake at her Rhodene residence.
Jaboon, a fierce critic of Mahofa, was reportedly summoned from his seat by irate youth from the Team Lacoste faction, led by Masvingo provincial youth chairperson, Nobert Ndaarombe and district member, Auxilia Dhanzi, popularly known as Sikhukhu, for going with Ricket to the wake.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi was also heckled and allegedly accused of being Mugabe’s “blue-eyed boy”.
Mzembi, who reportedly looked unfazed by the seemingly well-choreographed attacks, did not leave the venue despite the youth and speakers not recognising him in their
The Tourism minister yesterday confirmed that he and several other party officials were harassed, but refused to divulge details.
“I can confirm there were some incidents at Mahofa’s funeral, but I cannot comment further,” he said.
Other legislators perceived to be aligned to G40, such as Gutu South MP, Paul Chimedza, were also jeered, as tempers flared, with Team Lacoste members blaming her death on poisoning by her rivals.
Sources said Jaboon arrived at the funeral wake around 11am in the company of Mzembi and Ricket.
Soon after they took their seats, Dhanzi allegedly demanded that Jaboon leaves the place, accusing him of celebrating Mahofa’s demise on social media.
Dhanzi claimed she was sent by Ndaarombe and her superiors, among them two former Cabinet ministers, a politburo member and a provincial leader.
Ndaarombe yesterday denied directing Dhanzi to eject Jaboon, claiming the Bikita South MP was ordered out for going to the wake with Ricket and celebrating Mahofa’s death on social media.
“If it’s Jaboon who told you, he is a liar. He should learn to tell the truth. I never ordered anyone to chase him away. They have personal issues with Sikhukhu and I am not part of this,” he said.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairwoman, Veronica Makonese said the funeral was turned into a factional charade.
“They also wanted to chase me away,” she said.
“The youth said a lot of things accusing Jaboon and Mzembi of coming with poison, to please their bosses.”
Mahofa was a staunch ally of Mnangagwa.
Jaboon confirmed the developments, but declined to comment, saying the issue was now being investigated by the police, as he demanded that his accusers be taken to task for alleging he had brought poisoned ice cream.
The case is recorded under number RRB 3174229.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira professed ignorance on the matter, saying legislators from rival factions had attended the wake and were not chased away.
“I did not witness that. Many legislators linked to G40 were not chased away,” he said.