By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FORMER Mines Minister and top Zanu PF official Obert Mpofu says he acquired his wealth through hard work and has challenged anyone convinced his riches were ill-gotten to take the evidence to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC).
Mpofu was responding to a heated exchange on Twitter with Zimbabweans on how he became a rich politician in Zimbabwe amid allegations that he used his immense influence when he was Mines Minister at the height of the lucrative Chiadzwa diamond mining era, to accumulate his riches.
The Zanu PF secretary for administration and Politburo member said hard work is narrowly linked to theft and sorcery as if it is criminal for a black man to prosper on plain merit.
He has just come out of self-isolation at his Nyamandlovu farm in Matabeleland North after travelling to Tanzania for a conference as a Zanu PF delegate and took the mandatory Covid-19 quarantine.
Moyo has a vast business empire with interests in mining, security, farming, tourism and transport. He once operated a daily newspaper and a bank which have both collapsed.
Most depositors are still to recover their money from the bank.
In 2018, he made headlines when he declined to give oral evidence to the Mines Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on what happened to an estimated US$15 billion diamond proceeds that vanished during his time as Mines Minister.
“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 hating 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,” he charged.
Mpofu said it was surprising those who accused him of corruption have not approached the anti-corruption body, ZACC, with evidence for him to be investigated.
“Those who were in Zanu PF and accused me of corruption where they are and where am I now? What evidence have they produced to a whole ZACC. The correct question should not be, why me? It should be why us?” he said.
Mpofu gave reference to the former Zanu PF G40 faction that was driven away from the party after President Emmerson Mnangagwa staged a military coup against the now late strongman Robert Mugabe.
Mpofu is also famed for writing letters to Mugabe and signing them off as “Your Most Obedient Son”.
“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?” he responded.
Turning to his wealth, Mpofu said he has been a hard worker since the early the 1980s when he was working in the private sector.
“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 practicalise his philosophy, Nxa ufuna imali lima (if you want wealth, do some farming).”
He added; “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 were 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 owing 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.”