ZANU PF Senator for Gutu and former Youth, Gender and Women’s Affairs deputy minister Shuvai Ben Mahofa, is tipped to replace fired Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti in an impending Cabinet reshuffle if remarks by First Lady Grace Mugabe are anything to go by.
Bhasikiti was fired last week for associating with axed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction, which is accused of trying to topple President Robert Mugabe.
At her “meet the people” rally in Masvingo’s Mucheke Stadium ahead of the party’s contested congress last year, Grace, now the party’s powerful women’s league boss, said Mahofa was her role model.
“Be like Mai Mahofa, she is my role model,” Grace said, while castigating the Mujuru faction leaders at the rally, much to the pleasure of the capacity crowd.
Grace left Mahofa with farming inputs she donated to the province, instructing her to distribute them on her behalf, bypassing Bhasikiti and then Zanu PF provincial chair, Killian Gwanetsa, in the process.
Grace donated 30 tonnes of seed to party members and 10 tonnes of maize meal for distribution to orphans, the physically challenged, vulnerable and child-headed families.
Sources in Zanu PF said Mahofa, nicknamed “the iron lady of Masvingo”, could get the post on a silver platter, as she is a favourite of the First Family, after bouncing back from the political wilderness in 2013.
“Of late, she has caught the attention of the First Family because she supported Grace at the women’s league when she was the secretary for security in the organ,” a source in the party said.
The former Gutu South legislator is said to be the second in command in the faction aligned to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, after Psychomotor minister Josaya Hungwe in the province, another source said.
Asked about the issue, acting Zanu PF Masvingo provincial chair Paradzai Chakona said the appointment would be an exclusive prerogative of the president.
“Well, I cannot comment on that as the president is the one who decides on appointments,” he said.