President Mugabe has mourned Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Senator Shuvai Ben Mahofa who collapsed and died in the early hours of yesterday morning.Sen Mahofa was rushed to Mukurira Hospital where she breathed her last. “Tine urombo tanzwa kuseniseni from Cde (Happyton) Bonyongwe kuti Mai Mahofa vashaya all of a sudden. She was a member of the Politburo kuMasvingo. At the last meeting yePolitburo, as I always do, ndakavabvudza kuti how do you feel now? Vakati, ah, no, I am okay. The news is astonishing, as astonishing as it is sorrowful.
“Let us not think that as we move along, we are totally healthy. See a doctor as often as possible, get checked as often as possible and ‘ensure that at least from the report that you get you still are strong and healthy,” President Mugabe said.
Condolence messages poured in from different provinces yesterday. Rural Development, Preservation and Promotion of Culture and Heritage Minister Abednico Ncube expressed shock at the sudden death of Sen Mahofa saying she had left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill.
Minister Ncube, who also doubles as the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs said; ”We have lost a true revolutionary who had dedicated all her life to serving the party (zanu-pf) in all capacities.
“She was a hard worker and a leader par excellence. I want to extend heartfelt condolences to the Mahofa family and the people of Zimbabwe. “Let’s all gather at the various centres and cherish the life one of dear comrade as we commemorate this year’s heroes holidays”. Zanu-pf Matabeleland South chairman Cde Rabelani Choeni described the veteran politician as an exemplary leader.
“We have been robbed of a dedicated cadre. Her death is not only confined to the Mahofa family but the dark cloud has covered the whole nation,” he said. “We will miss her good works as member of the central committee, politburo and minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Masvingo”. Provincial secretary for Women’s Affairs in Matabeleland South Cde Gladys Tlou said Zimbabwe had been robbed of a veteran nationalist.
Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs Ambassador Cain Mathema said “We are very sorry to the Mahofa family and the party and the nation of Zimbabwe. This is a very sad loss may her soul rest in peace” Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Jason Machaya described Sen Mahofa as a dedicated and loyal citizen who served her country with distinction.
“We are saddened by the death of Cde Mahofa. She served for a very long time in the party and we worked together. She would always help us in doing our work. Yes, she was ill but when we last saw her in Parliament during the amendment of Constitutional Amendment Number 1, she was jovial. As Midlands, we are at great loss and still in shock as we are trying to come to terms with her death.
Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial secretary for finance Cde Killer Zivhu said:
“We have lost a mother. She was a national patron for cross border traders and would encourage youth in whatever they would do in order to develop the country. Her death has landed us a devastating blow. We have lost immensely as a province. She was always there for us as Masvingo province. This is not something we would easily recover from as we are still in shock following her death,’’ Cde Zivhu said.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Eunice Sandi Moyo described Cde Mahofa’s death as unfortunate. “She was an old cadre of Zanu-PF and we worked together since the Unity Accord. She was a wonderful person and she was not scared of anything. Zimbabwe has lost one of the most hard working and loyal citizens who fought tenaciously for the country’s best interests. Farewell Cde Mahofa,’’ Cde Sandi Moyo said.
Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Advocate Martin Dinha described Cde Mahofa as a very powerful and kind person who worked well with the First Lady and the Women’s League. Zifa and Cosafa president, Dr Philip Chiyangwa said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the death of Cde Mahofa.
‘‘We are shocked beyond words to say the least. She was a giant in Zimbabwean politics, the party and indeed her family are poorer without her today… “As we mourn her sudden death, we will never forget the values she stood for and we salute her as a gallant daughter of the soil,’ Dr Chiyangwa said.
Cde Mahofa had been unwell for some time and had to seek treatment in South Africa after falling ill at the Zanu-PF Annual People’s Conference in Victoria Falls in 2015.
A veteran politician, Cde 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.
A war collaborator during the liberation struggle, Cde Mahofa was a long-serving MP for Gutu South and has 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.
*additional reporting by Farirai Machivenyika and Thupeyo Muleya