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Obert Mpofu an anti sanctions hero?

28 Oct 2019 at 08:32hrs | Views
Obert  Mpofu is a man who makes headlines and probably the biggest political character and player in Matebeleland. In his capacity as Secretary for Administration in ZANU PF, Obert Mpofu is the man tasked with overseeing the daily running and functions of ZANU PF. Obert Mpofu is one of the few people who have played a leading role in busting illegal sanctions imposed upon Zimbabwe by the United States and its allies under the guise of a Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act ZDERA.

Tendai Biti as Minister of Finance benefited from Dr Obert Mpofu's wit and his team which came up with sanction busting mechanisms which saw the growth and bullish performance of the mining sector in Zimbabwe.

Tenure as Minister Mines

At the mention of the name Obert Mpofu people rush to think of diamonds. The nation talks of Obert Mpofu and diamonds yet very few are interested in the statistics and figures around Obert Mpofu's tenure as Minister of Mines.

Contrary to the notion that Obert Mpofu is corrupt which was propagated by a few individuals including Tendai Biti, the mining sector recorded tremendous growth under Obert Mpofu.

In 2009 mineral exports stood at USD 659. 6 million and grew significantly to USD 1.6 billion in 2010. The mining sector firmed up to USD 2.1 billion and subsequently eased at USD 2.2 billion. These impressive growth figures were recorded under Obert Mpofu's tenure as Minister of Mines.

Obert Mpofu's tenure in the mining industry attracted a lot of delegations from the international investment community, and the Zimbabwe Mining Indaba became one of the major and biggest business event in the country.

Obert Mpofu's leadership of the mining industry and the results thereof became the Government of National Unity's major source of income and pride.

Tendai Biti as Minister of Finance and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister did very little to contribute to Zimbabwe's economic  prosperity during the Government of National Unity.

The economic growth and stability witnessed during the GNU era is largely attributed to the growth of the mining industry which was captained by Obert Mpofu.

 A simplistic or rather uninformed view of things would attribute the economic wins gained in 2009-2013 to Tendai Biti. Some have gone to label Tendai Biti as the best Finance Minister Zimbabwe ever had. To those who are of that simple view I pose a question, how much did Tendai Biti raise for the country as Minister Finance, his travels and exploits gained us not more than USD 200 000 that was his contribution to the fiscus. The world probably didn't have much faith in him to grant him any fresh loans or debt relief. It is a myth that Tendai Biti was the architect of Zim's economic gains from 2009-20013. The architect was Obert Mpofu who captained the mining industry into a billion dollar success story. Tendai Biti had to merely manage what Obert Mpofu brought to the table.

Sanctions had an adverse effect on the mining sector. Zimbabwean diamonds could not be sold competitively and the noose was weighing down the economy and Tendai Biti had no plan in sight. It took the team at Ministry of Mines lead by Obert Mpofu with the help of other players who secured Kimberly Process Certification for the Zimbabwean diamonds.
 
In 2011, commercialisation of the Marange diamond field continued, with Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources having attained KP compliance. On 17 November 2011, Anjin Investments was verified KP compliant by the KP Monitoring Team with regards to the Kinshasa Administrative Decision on Marange [Zimbabwe]. These entities were subsequently added to the sanctions list.

By the end of December 2011, Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) was ready to host the KP Monitoring Team for verification of its compliance with KP minimum requirements.

The company commenced trial mining from August 2011.
Sino-Zim, the 5th licensed company continued carrying out exploration during the reporting period. DTZ – OZGEO continued with exploration work at Chimanimani and operated an exploration plant on site.

The companies continued with risk-driven continuous improvement of security and diamond accounting systems. During the reporting period, the Somabula area remained without activity as the gravels there are known to be uneconomic.

In 2011, rough diamond production in Zimbabwe during the reporting period approximated 8674729.43 carats. Commercial production was from Murowa, Limpopo Mineral Resources (River Ranch Ltd), Mbada, Marange Resources and Anjin while DMC and DTZ - OZGEO recovered some
diamonds during trial mining and feasibility studies respectively.

During the reporting period, mining activities in the Marange area were also characterised by removal of fairly thick overburden and hard rock mining and crushing of ores as opposed to largely simple alluvial operations in 2010.

The global rough diamond market has average $12,63 billion in size, between 2009 and 2015. Production has averaged 126 million carats annually over that period.

The Kimberley Process, an intergovernmental diamond certification scheme, was launched in 2003 to prevent diamonds from fuelling civil wars and conflict.

The Kimberley Process only covers the trade in rough diamonds (diamonds before they are cut or polished). The vast majority of diamond trading and producing countries – the European Community and 46 countries in total – are members of the Kimberley Process and are required to implement an import/export control regime to keep out conflict diamonds: diamonds used to finance conflict and civil wars. Zimbabwe was certified under KP meaning that our diamonds are mined in a manner that meets international standards, though they remain under sanctions and diamond mining entities are equally under sanctions. Though under Dr. Obert Mpofu the companies performed very well regardless of the sanctions.

Corruption claims undermine successes

Zimbabwe is a democracy and in a democracy people are entitled to freedom of speech. However your freedom of speech should not infringe on my rights neither should it damage my reputation or relationships.

The MDC has nothing to show for their time in the GNU, they have very little to take credit for and turn to throwing shade at those who carried the weight of economic progress during the GNU era.

Obert Mpofu has been abused by several people without basis or fact. Recently the ZANU PF YOUTH LEAGUE labelled Obert Mpofu as corrupt, without bringing facts or evidence on the table. These allegations damage a person's reputation and are costly to anyone in business. One is likely to suffer prejudice as such allegations were made in front of the media and the world. We tend to spend most of our time discussing the allegations and not discussing the stats, figures do not lie.

Sadly the Youth league did not come out to clear anyone or retract their statements. Today Lewis Matutu who read the corruption allegations charge sheet against Obert Mpofu, faces a $10 Million lawsuit. The lawsuit is good as it will give the 2 a platform to clear the air on these corruption allegations.

Obert Mpofu has always stood firm on his conviction that his wealth is clean and has said anyone is free to investigate him and his wealth.

Temba Mliswa is another one of those individuals who run around claiming that Obert Mpofu is corrupt and yet has failed to bring a shred of evidence to the public fold. Temba even as chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines had a bias against Obert Mpofu and sought to humiliate the former Minister at every turn. Temba could claim immunity as a Member of Parliament but where do we draw the line between exercising one's rights and duties as a member of Parliament and one who is out to settle a personal vendetta using the same rights and privilege of parliamentary immunity.

Conclusion
Obert Mpofu thus far has demonstrated that he is a thick skinned politician who does not allow himself to major in the minor things. Obert Mpofu is a hero who has changed the lives of many in Matebeleland. Many have been empowered by and through Obert Mpofu. The people of Matebeleland have always complained of marginalisation and Obert Mpofu has stood up to create equal opportunities for the people of Matebeleland at every turn and chance he got. People from Matebeleland got equal opportunity to work in the mining industry under Mpofu's tenure as Minister Mines. These are facts which we cannot argue with.

Obert Mpofu is a hero who even risked his life and personal freedom to usher in a new Zimbabwe, having equally risked his life during the days of the liberation struggle. Obert Mpofu has created solutions that have helped Zimbabwe survive the illegal sanctions. The country's detractors are disappointed that Zimbabwe has not collapsed in the face of ZDERA.

Before we label Obert Mpofu, let's look for and look at the unpopular facts. Numbers don't lie, and the numbers are there for all to see, the numbers tell a story of positive results and growth in every portfolio that Obert Mpofu is assigned to. The numbers tell a story of Obert Mpofu being a hero more than Tendai Biti will ever be.



Source - Byo24News
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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