TRANSPORT minister and Zanu politburo member Obert Mpofu yesterday attacked what he called a bad tendency among people in Matabeleland who label successful people as “thieves” saying the region would not develop with such contempt.
Fingers have been pointed at Mpofu with some people questioning the source of his wealth.
He has also been accused by some local and international organisations of looting diamonds in Marange during his tenure as Mines minister although no evidence has ever been produced.
Speaking at a field day at his homestead in Nyamandlovu where he showcased his maiden tobacco crop, Mpofu said the tendency of glorifying laziness ahead of hardworking people in Matabeleland should come to an end and unity was needed for tangible development to take place. Perhaps in apparent reference to himself, Mpofu said hardworking people were often accused of stealing while the lazy ones were glorified.
“We were in Chinhoyi for the Zanu PF conference and people were busy farming there,” he said.
“I am happy that here in Umguza there are people who take farming seriously. People say we steal, but how can you steal when things are so hard. Let us develop our country by loving each other. The problem in Matabeleland is that we are not united for development and spend time accusing each other.
“A man who works hard is a thief and the lazy one is a man. We then turn and say people from Mashonaland (provinces) ngothathekile (they get carried away) when they take up opportunities,” he said.
Mpofu has previously referred to himself as a strategic investor who took risks by acquiring loans from banks to start up his thriving business empire which now consists of farming, security, transport, tourism and hospitality and banking. The Umguza legislator said he started off as a paprika farmer and the project generated him a lot of foreign currency, which he used to buy a farm and cattle to feed for resale.
“We started selling cattle and now I have many cattle. We sell 100 cattle per week. Go to CSC (Cold Storage Company) and you will see where we steal money. Let us compete with love and not jealousy,” the minister chuckled.
Mpofu also dismissed claims by former State Enterprises and Parastatals minister Gorden Moyo that Zanu PF nurtured the rot in the country’s parastatals resulting in executives bleeding the entities dry by paying themselves outrageous salaries. Moyo told Southern Eye on Tuesday that parent ministers of parastatals were beneficiaries of the rot in all the non-performing State-owned entities, but Mpofu shot back.
“He was a Parastatals minister and presided over that rot. You cannot comment on things that you failed to deal with when you were part of government,” he said.
“He cannot take advantage of the fact that he is in opposition to comment on issues that he failed to deal with. It’s unfair.”
On the insurance scandal rocking Air Zimbabwe, Mpofu said he had not received any reports on the matter.
“I have only read in the newspapers and we do not rely on speculation, but facts. I will deal with it, if the case exists, in a manner that is fair to everyone,” Mpofu said.