21 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Masvingo 'Iron Lady' Removed From EU Sanctions List

Another controversial ZANU PF individual has been removed from the European Union (EU) list of targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe's regime.

The EU announced Monday, after a meeting in Brussels, that 21 individuals would be de-listed, including the self styled Masvingo 'war vet' Shuvai Mahofa. Dubbed the 'iron lady' of the province, Mahofa used to be the Deputy Minister of Youth in the ZANU PF run government and was the MP for Gutu South.

She was most recently in the news for being among a gang of ZANU PF linked officials illegally granted hunting licences and stands in the Save Valley Conservancy last year. She is one of the 'Masvingo Initiative' who last year caused chaos when they took over the Conservancy, ignoring parliamentary warnings about the destruction their actions will bring to the wildlife and tourism sectors.

European diplomats, along with Conservancy officials, last year called on Zimbabwe's cabinet to intervene in the fight, warning that Zimbabwe faced losing European support for the United Nations' World Tourism congress, set to be hosted in Victoria Falls in August this year. This concern however appears to have been forgotten, with Europe now agreeing to have Mahofa removed from its Zim 'sanctions' list.

Mahofa is also known for her role in land invasions in Masvingo, including the four year long battle for the Savuli Ranch, that she successfully took over in 2011. She has also been implicated in a poaching and a bush meat trading syndicate, reportedly run by her brother.

Harrison Mudzuri, a Masvingo residents and provincial spokesperson for the MDC-T, told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that Mahofa is "a correct candidate to remain on that list of sanctions."

"She is known as the longest serving ZANU PF MP in Masvingo but, she is regarded as the worst ever present politician here. She has done nothing meaningful as an MP. There is a very negative attitude towards her and people are very scared of her," Mudzuri said.

He explained that Mahofa is best known for her role in farm and other property invasions, particularly of the conservancies in Chiredzi. But he also explained that there is superstitious fear of her too.

"Her family is being haunted by avenging spirits, the ngozi, after they killed someone in 2003 and they are being attacked by evil spirits. She has been married to five husbands; all of them have passed away. So people are now scared of her," Mudzuri said.

He added: "She is just as evil and bad as she was. Actually she is becoming worse and worse since she was removed from parliament."

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