Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa’s death has laid bare deepening divisions in Zanu PF that are said to have a taken a dangerous tribal dimension.
BY Everson Mushava
Mahofa, a fierce supporter of Vice-President Emmerson Mnanagwa, died on Sunday from hypertension and will be buried at the National Heroes Acre today.
Mnangagwa’s allies in Masvingo have been running the show at Mahofa’s funeral where emotions are running high over suspicions that she was poisoned during a Zanu PF conference in 2005.
According to a report titled, Worrying developments, abuse and trends at the funeral of Hon Shuvai Mahofa presented at a Zanu PF politburo meeting to discuss her hero status, which was obtained by The Standard, a tribal rebellion is brewing in the Masvingo and Midlands provinces as senior ruling party officials are now mobilising on the basis of tribe in the battle to succeed Mugabe.
The report quotes senior Zanu PF officials allegedly making shocking tribal statements and propagating hate speech.
Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira is quoted in the report claiming that Mahofa was poisoned and that the province won’t take the issue lying down.
“The people of Masvingo will not be told by others at whatever level, we want to do our own things. We are a liberated zone. Mai Mahofa did not die a natural death, she succumbed to the poison laced food she was given in Victoria Falls two years ago,” he is quoted saying.
“We as the people of Masvingo do not take instructions from Harare. No one tells us what to do.
“We want to work with those who think like us and who see things the way Mai Mahofa did. We know where Mai Mahofa wanted to lead us to.”
Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke is also quoted in the report allegedly attacking Tourism minister Walter Mzembi for raising problems affecting the party in the province with President Robert Mugabe.
“We remain surprised by some who are here having made us appear before the president at State Hous where they wanted Cde Mahofa and Cde (Josiah ) Hungwe to be attacked by the president,” the report quoted him saying.
“These are the shenanigans we do not want in the province.”
Zanu PF deputy secretary for legal affairs Paul Mangwana is also alleged to have said Karanga people should fight for their rights.
“I am saying this because nothing takes that away from us, from being Karanga and we have a province we belong to,” he allegedly said.
“We must, therefore, fight for our place as a people and it is not a crime.”
After Mangwana, former youth secretary for administration Pupurai Togarepi allegedly said: “MuMasvingo maita magonye ari mumaonde and they must be crushed (In Masvingo, we have worms in fruits and should be crushed),” Togarepi said.
July Moyo is also accused of making inflammatory statements at Mahofa’s funeral wake. The report urged Zanu PF to take immediate action against those implicated in the chaos that marred Mahofa’s funeral.
“The depth of tribalism and the link drawn by Cde July Moyo between Midlands and Masvingo reflects a south-south cooperation of the two provinces, which is being engineered by a hidden hand fomenting political deviance,” the report says.