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Haters not convinced by Obert Mpofu's defence

by Staff reporter
23 Mar 2018 at 13:04hrs | Views
ANALYSTS yesterday ratcheted up pressure on Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu, saying he should give a detailed account of how he acquired his wealth.

Harare-based lawyer and MDC official Obert Gutu said more often than not, perception can easily become reality, implying Mpofu must do much more to remove perceptions that he might have bent the rules to acquire his riches.

Without suggesting by any stretch of the imagination that Mpofu is corrupt, Gutu said out there, people generally think that he is villainous.

"Whether or not he is corrupt is neither here nor there. It is a fact that Mpofu is fabulously wealthy.

"He, in fact, openly admits that he's stinking rich. How he acquired his wealth is a matter of conjecture.

"What he can do for now is to publicly avail a detailed schedule of his properties and explain precisely how he acquired each and every one of his several assets," said Gutu.

"In the court of public opinion, unfortunately, Mpofu is perceived to be a corrupt politician. The ball is now firmly in his court to publicly prove that his wealth was acquired through honest, hard work and not through sleaze and graft," he added.

Crisis Coalition told the Daily News yesterday that there was a problem in the country, especially when public officials flaunt their wealth and duck the responsibility and transparency test.

Tabani Moyo, spokesperson of Crisis Coalition, said if the new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants the world to think for a second that it's a "new" administration, it has to ensure that it spells out a mechanism of public officials declaring their assets and account as to how they acquired them for them to be entrusted with public resources.

"The case at hand is that of entitlement, where the public officials are larger that the State and protected from answering to the allegations of corruption," opined Moyo. "It is therefore a cause of concern that the government has the courage to publish a list of alleged looters when its backyard is decorated with such filthy lucre".

Crisis Coalition is a conglomeration of more than 350 civil organisations in Zimbabwe working on human rights issues, democratic governance, political freedom, women's rights, electoral reform, and constitutional reform.

Political analyst Vivid Gwede said no one in this country stops people from being rich, but what people were asking were fair questions about the origins of some government officials' vast wealth, Mpofu included.

He said that Mpofu was recently called to Parliament to answer questions about Zimbabwe's most precious resource in terms of diamond revenue and showed arrogance raised people's eyebrows even higher.

"As a former Mines minister, he had an opportunity to furnish his fellow citizens with answers, but squandered it. Such behaviour makes people speculate about his own involvement in shoddy dealings, which resulted in losses of diamond revenue," said Gwede.

"In other civilised nations, that is not a joking matter because we are talking about massive prejudice to the country. It could get someone a nice stay in prison, which is why it is in his own interest to clear himself at the earliest opportunity, but instead, the whole nation has to wait for him," said Gwede.

He added that if Mnangagwa finds that his government is fast losing sympathy, these unresolved issues were some of the reasons.

"People are fed up!" he remarked.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said one would be curious to know what line of business Mpofu does which made him so affluent in a short time in government, out from a humble background a few years back.

"It could be just fluke that he joined government an unassuming bloke, then started to be so conspicuously opulent and sumptuous while at helm of the Mines ministry. It also could be mere quirk that the alleged $15 billion diamond revenue supposedly ebbed when he was minister of Mines, yet at the same time he was doing very well in his own private business," said Saungweme.

"It could also be interesting to learn how he and other ministers did very well during the time our economy was sinking and government could barely pay civil servants. These could be mere coincidences, I guess," said Saungweme.

He added that on the bank he could be right. "But when was the tender advertised and who else was a bidder. It will be interesting to understand the legality of him as a minister buying a bank. This is definitely a conflict of interest case of sorts."

Source - dailynews

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