By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has challenged anyone who thinks he acquired his wealth corruptly to report him to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC). The top Zanu PF official instead claims that he acquired his wealth through hard work.
Mpofu dismissed claims about corruption in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime citing that the discourse is meant to manipulate “gullible minds’ ‘ to hate their leaders.
“It is as if there is an unwritten law that once you are in political leadership, you must wallow in poverty,” Mpofu said.
“Such luciferous misrepresentations only flourish in polarised political spaces where propaganda is abused to assert divisions among our people.
“The discourse of corruption is peddled to manipulate gullible minds to hate their leaders. The issue of corruption in high places has emotive capital. It even becomes worse when it is used to decapitate reputations of those of us in power,” Mpofu said.
Mpofu was a Mines Minister when an estimated US$15 billion in diamond proceeds vanished during the reign of late former president Robert Mugabe. In 2018, he refused to tell a Mines Parliamentary Portfolio Committee what had happened to the money.
He accused a former Zanu PF faction, G40, of labelling him corrupt. Mpofu also claimed the corruption narrative was only confined to the ruling party Zanu PF.
“Those who were in Zanu PF and accused me of corruption where they are and where I am now? What evidence have they produced to a whole ZACC. The correct question should not be, why me? It should be why us?
“Why is the corruption narrative only confined to Zanu PF and conveniently ignores NGOs (non-governmental organisations) who are famous for squandering regime-change donations?
“Is our society so blind to the corruption in our local authorities?
“Hard work is narrowly linked to theft and sorcery as if it’s criminal for a black man to prosper on plain merit. You even find this in family set-ups. Funny enough we don’t attribute the same to white people who are beneficiaries of well-known inter-generational looting.
“I would be if you provided me the list of the properties I am said to own. This anecdotal fallacy assumes that all my perceived material prosperity has its roots in my proximity to political leadership and consequently, corruption.
“What is unknown and perhaps selective forgotten by many is that the properties I own were part of prolonged investment experience, hard work and discipline. As guided by Dr (Joshua) Nkomo, I continue to practice his philosophy, Nxa ufuna imali lima (if you want wealth, do some farming).
“The people who give such intangible myths don’t know that as early as 1988 I had acquired several properties after being sacked from the private sector for the crime of being a corruption whistle-blower.
“The Obert Mpofu property portfolio has its origins in decades of traceable investment. Sadly, in a society where superstition is fecund it is expected for one to be alleged of sorcery when they are viewed as rich.
“However, the moment it’s a black man owning a few assets and creating employment for fellow countrymen, then it’s labelled as theft or witchcraft. We need to abandon this mentality. Rewards of a black man’s hard-work must not continue to be ignorantly classified as looting, Mpofu said.
In July 2019, a Canadile Miners boss Lovemore Kurotwi upped his bid to recover diamond mining equipment, cash and gemstones allegedly seized from his enterprise by Mpofu.
He wanted him to be investigated by ZACC.
Mpofu allegedly accumulated wealth at the height of the lucrative Chiadzwa diamond mining era.