THE “iron lady” of Masvingo province, Shuvai Mahofa, has not been reporting for duty for two months due to alleged ill-health.
The Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister was taken ill after the ZANU-PF congress held in Victoria Falls last December following suspected food poisoning.
Since then, she has been bed-ridden and has not been seen in public.
Staff at her office this week said the mercurial politician was on leave although sources said she was recuperating at a South African hospital.
Mahofa’s phone has since been switched off.
Kudakwashe Machako, a director in Mahofa’s office, evaded questions from the Financial Gazette as he repeatedly said he was in a series of meetings.
Mahofa’s continued absence has been a cause for concern as her office is critical in the running of Masvingo province.
As the Provincial Affairs Minister, Mahofa chairs the Provincial Development Committee and the Lands Committee.
“There are many issues that need her approval that have not been sorted out due to her prolonged absence,” said a source.
“The director in her office (Machako) has his hands were tied and cannot make critical decisions in her absence,” the source added.
Masvingo is one of the provinces hardest hit by drought, with scores of people in need of food aid, while thousands of cattle have succumbed to famine.
When Mahofa assumed the province’s top post last year, many had poured scorn on her appointment, with some saying she “danced her way up” after she passed out at a rally in Harare while dancing; waiting for the First Lady, Grace Mugabe to show up.
Many also questioned the 74-year-old’s physical capacity when she requested that her office be shifted from the second floor to the ground floor after she failed to climb the stairs due to ill-health.
Mahofa was to later brag at a function in Chivi that despite her advanced age and poor health whichmade it difficult for her to stand up, she was nevertheless appointed by President Robert Mugabe because he trusted her.
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