President Mugabe has conferred national heroine status on Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Senator Shuvai Ben Mahofa who died on Monday.She was 76.
The announcement was made by Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo yesterday.
“His Excellency and First Secretary of Zanu-PF Cde Mugabe has conferred a national heroine status on the late Cde Shuvai Ben Mahofa who died on 14 August, 2017 at Makurira Memorial Hospital in Masvingo. This decision came after the Politburo met this late (yesterday) afternoon and deliberated on the request by the Masvingo provincial leadership. The Politburo was unanimous that the work done by Sen Mahofa before independence and after independence merited that she be buried at the national shrine.”
Cde Chombo said the date of burial and other arrangements would be announced following consultations with the family. Sen Mahofa died at Makurira Hospital where she had been rushed after she collapsed at her Rhodene home in Masvingo early Sunday morning.
During Heroes Day celebrations, President Mugabe said he had been saddened by the news of her death. Sen Mahofa had been unwell for some time and had to seek treatment in South Africa.
A war collaborator during the liberation struggle, Cde Mahofa was a long-serving MP for Gutu South and held several party and Government positions, among them Deputy Minister of Women Affairs and Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs, a position she held to this day.
She is survived by four children and 27 grandchildren. Meanwhile, condolences continued to pour in yesterday with people describing her as a cadre who demonstrated unquestionable loyalty to the party and Government.
Sen Mahofa was a Zanu-PF Politburo and Central Committee member, while at the same time serving as national secretary for security in the Women’s League.
Three church services were held from morning yesterday with members of the minister’s church, the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, leading proceedings. Mourners described Sen Mahofa as a unifier and development-oriented leader. Chief Whip Cde Lovemore Matuke said Masvingo was poorer without Sen Mahofa.
Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Ezra Chadzamira, also mourned Sen Mahofa saying she had left indelible footprints on the province’s development landscape.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira, also paid homage to Sen Mahofa. Zion Christian Church leader Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi paid tribute to Sen Mahofa and urged the ruling party to shun divisions.
Mashonaland Central Minister of State Advocate Martin Dinha said: “We are happy as Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs that one of us, who worked tirelessly and gallantly for the country has been accorded a befitting status, which is the highest honour that of the national heroine status.”
One of the late minister’s daughters, Fungai, said the Mahofa family had been robbed of a pillar of strength and a unifier.
“We are moved by the support that we have received from the day our mother passed on. The whole family is distraught because we have lost our torch-bearer who was very respectful and pushed for family unit,’’ she said.
“We want to pay special tribute to the party Zanu-PF and its leadership for standing with us during this difficult period.’
She said the family was shocked by Minister Mahofa’s death after she initially showed remarkable improvement following her illness that started in 2015. Sen Mahofa was born in 1941 in Chivi and attended Chibi Mission and Morgenster Mission schools. She enrolled for a nurse training course at Morgenster Mission where she attained a Diploma in Nursing between 1958 and 1960.
A veteran politician, Sen Mahofa joined the National Democratic Party in 1960, before joining Zapu when the NDP was banned. She later moved to Zanu from 1979, and has been a ruling party cadre till her demise.
In 1973 she enrolled for a Diploma in Community Development at Domboshava Training Centre and was active in early nationalist politics that saw her joining the United National Democratic Party before joining Zapu in 1960 and then the then Zanu in 1963.
Sen Mahofa was a renowned war collaborator who worked with the likes of late national hero Dr Simon Mazorodze supplying clothes and medicines to freedom fighters.
From 1980 to 1984 Sen Mahofa was Councillor for Ward 20 in Tirizi Gutu and at the same time served as the first woman council chairperson for Gutu District.
Sen Mahofa was elected Gutu South Member of Parliament in 1985 and occupied the seat until 2008. She also served as the first Zanu PF Women’s league provincial leader for Masvingo in the 1980s. Sen Mahofa served as Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs from 1987 to 1992 and Political Affairs Deputy Minister from 1992 to 1997.
From 1998 to 2007 Sen Mahofa served as Deputy Minister of Gender and Youth Development. In 2013 she was elected Senator before her appointment as Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister in February 2015, a post she occupied until she breathed her last.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF Masvingo provincial youth league yesterday dismissed as unfounded reports that they chased suspended ruling party provincial commissar and Bikita South legislator Cde Jappy Jaboon from Sen Mahofa’s funeral wake in Rhodene.
Cde Jaboon on Tuesday claimed he had been hounded out from Sen Mahofa’s funeral by members of the provincial youth league. However, provincial youth league chair Cde Norbet Ndaarombe, dismissed Cde Jaboon’s claims describing them as frivolous.
‘’There is no truth at all in what Cde Jaboon is saying, we never chased him from Minister Mahofa’s funeral, she clashed with a female youth party activist and they had a harsh exchange of words and he left. We never intervened in their dispute and we challenge him to prove his claims anywhere,’’said Cde Ndaarombe.