Mines Minister Obert Mpofu’s personal wealth came under the spotlight during a conference at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa to discuss resource governance of Marange diamonds recently.
The matter was raised by a foreign-based veteran Zimbabwean journalist. Some Zimbabweans including government officials have become super rich through the smuggling of diamonds.
When the question was raised, Affirmative Action Group (AAG) president Supa Mandiwanzira, who attended the workshop, tried to defend Mpofu but in vain.
The Zimbabwean journalist asked: “As the issue of Zimbabwe diamond proceeds becomes topical, we need to know how Minister Mpofu, who owns half of Victoria Falls town and many buildings in Bulawayo which include the tallest building in that town, managed to acquire such wealth.”
“What we know is that Mpofu earns $250 per month and I am not saying that blacks cannot be obscenely rich but I am keen to know how he managed to amass so much wealth on such a small salary.
“I direct my question to the president of Affirmative Action Group and his secretary-general who are here passionately supporting his ministry’s programmes and the Zanu PF indigenisation programmes.”
Mandiwanzira responded and said: “I have no brief from the minister or government to comment on his businesses and alleged wealth. However, I can only assume that he grew his businesses on the back of the farm that he got under the successful land reform programme and also from his humble beginnings in business.
“If by asking your question you are trying to accuse the minister of corruption, then you must produce irrefutable evidence even to us in the AAG, because one of our mandates is to expose those who are corrupt and giving our economic revolution and Mugabe a bad name.
“But you must be careful about making these unsubstantiated allegations against our leaders only for cheap propaganda purposes,” said Mandiwanzira.
Mpofu, Mugabe’s confidante who also signs off his letters to 87-year-old Zimbabwean leader as “your ever obedient son”, has been accused of unfairly benefitting from the Marange Diamond fields. He has in the past denied corruption allegations levelled against him.
Last year, diamond dealer, Lovemore Kurotwi sensationally told Mugabe that Mpofu had asked for a bribe in return for diamond favours and hours later Kurotwi was arrested.
The conference, organised jointly by Centre for Research Development, Heinrich Boell Stiftung and the South Africa Institute of International Affairs, was reviewing progress in Marange diamond fields.
The top speakers included Head of European Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo D’Arricio, Farai Maguwu of Centre and Research and Development and Dewa Mavhinga of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
The conference was held under the theme; Zimbabwe’s Diamonds and the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme: Effectiveness and Responsibilities. Daily News
To help maintain editorial independence Nehanda Radio relies on donations from readers like you. No donation is too small or too big. Help by donating to fund our operations.