By Maynard Manyowa
Zimbabwe’s beleaguered first lady Grace Mugabe hounded the now deceased provincial minister for Masvingo, Shuvai Mahofa, just moments before the heroine tragically passed away as a result of hypertension related illnesses.
Impeccable sources told Khuluma Afrika that the afternoon before Minister Mahofa died, she had attended a meeting in her home province of Masvingo..
Mahofa missed a total of ten calls from Mrs Mugabe.
Khuluma Afrika saw the call records and confirmed they were made from a NetOne number which we managed to confirm is utilized by Grace Mugabe.
“She noticed the calls the moment she finished the meeting. But because they were people, she could not return the calls immediately. When she got home, she phoned the first lady back, but was greeted with intense hostility” said a top aide of the Mugabe’s who refused to be named for fear of victimization and death.
According the sources, Grace Mugabe was extremely upset with Shuvai Mahofa for blocking an illegal attempt by the former to annex land and business opportunities within the province.
This is in contrast to what another provincial Minister, Martina Dinha, who is on record for saying that in his Mashonaland Central Province ‘Grace Mugabe would always get land because she was engaging in national capacity building.’
“This is what made Grace angry. She then threw a tantrum at Mahofa and threatened her” a source within the provincial office confirmed.
The land in question which Grace wanted to annex is owned by Tongaat Hulett – an agri-processing business, focusing on the complementary feedstocks of sugarcane and maize.
Khuluma Afrika was able to confirm that Grace Mugabe had made advances through proxies and wanted to be awarded rights to their agricultural outgrowers scheme – a lucrative initiative where farmers get paid premiums for managing production of sugar cane on prepared land.
“Grace really wanted to expand into Masvingo. Tongaat is a lucrative thing. She felt it was a neccessary step in the building of her one state empire (sic). Even now she says that Mahofa is out of the way so she will now rule the total land.”
Grace Mugabe’s efforts in Triangle were resisted intensely by the late Minister, who expressed worries that she would replicate her record in Mazowe – another place which now lies near dormant after she annexed land, failed to utilise it, and ran the place to the ground.
But what has perhaps raised eyebrows in a week when Grace has made headlines for assaulting another woman, is the possibility that she could have been the catalyst that drove Mahofa to her death.
Family sources confirmed that Mahofa took a dive for the worst after speaking with Grace Mugabe.
“On the lengthy phone call Grace Mugabe threatened to implicate Mahofa in false plots to kill President Mugabe, and promised to engineer a ‘Mujuru style’ exit out of the party.”
“She even highlighted that she was the one who made Mahofa who she is, and even lamented how Mahofa was not singing praises of her”
This is was in supposed reference to a Zanu PF Women’s League National Assembly meeting held in Harare, a few weeks ago, where the deceased Mahofa sang praises for the revolutionary party, but omitted praising Grace Mugabe.
After the phone call, Shuvai Mahofa is said to have sat on her couch and cried for over two hours.
Before the night was over, Mahofa collapsed, was rushed to hospital, and died from high blood pressure related complications.
Mahofa’s family refused to comment on the matter, with daughter Nyengeterai dropping calls once questions were presented.
- Maynard Manyowa is a journalist and co-editor of Khuluma Afrika – a center for investigative journalism and political analysis