Thabo Mbeki full speech at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference

 Director of Ceremonies,

Our host, Minister ObertMpofu,

Honourable Ministers from Zimbabwe and our region,

Leaders of the Kimberley Process,

YourExcellencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen:

 

One of the occasions I was here at Victoria Falls was in April 2000.

 

I came here as part of a SADC delegation constituted of then Presidents JoaquimChissano of Moçambique, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, and myself, as President of South Africa.

 

We came here to engage President Robert Mugabe specifically about what was happening in this country at the time, relating to the occupation of white-owned farms by this country’s liberation war veterans, intended to address the historic Zimbabwe land question.

 

Specifically we discussed with the President how best to assist the sister people of Zimbabwe in the noble quest to correct an historical injustice. At the same time, our region fully accepted that land redistribution had to happen in Zimbabwe, as in other countries of our region.

 

Afterthe meeting here, I had to report to the South African Parliament about the outcomes of that meeting.

 

Here is part of what I reported to the South African National Assembly and therefore the people of South Africa as a whole.

 

“To address both the fundamental and central land question, which has to be solved, and the consequences that have derived from the failure to find this solution, we have been in contact with both the Zimbabwe and the British Governments.

This contact sought to achieve a number of objectives. These are:

“1: to get a common commitment to solve the Zimbabwe land question, according to the framework and programme agreed at the 1998 Conference and thus, simultaneously, to speak to such questions as the rule of law;

“2: to end the violence that has attended the effort to find this solution;

“3: to create the conditions for the withdrawal from the farms they have occupied of the demonstrating war veterans; and,

“4: to pursue these issues in a manner that would be beneficial for all the people of Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa. As we informed the media at Victoria Falls on Good Friday and other occasions since then, President Mugabe fully supported these objectives.”

 

The truth is that we failed to achieve the global outcome we sought.

 

This was because we did not get the funding commitments to the programme that were  agreed at the 1998 International Conference on the Zimbabwe Land Question.

 

This meant that we failed to convince the world powers to honour the solemn commitments they had made, including their funding of the Zimbabwe land reform, and therefore the related creation of the conditions to end the occupation of the white-owned farms.

 

With regard to everything I have said, I must report that, at that time, the view of the political leadership in our region was that it was still nevertheless correct and vital that Zimbabwe had to address the land question.

 

This was particularly so given the fact that from 1990, a decade earlier, Zimbabwe had delayed dealing with the land question in a new way, especially after the expiry of the restrictive land provisions in the independence Lancaster House Constitution.

 

As an outstanding act of African solidarity, the Government of Zimbabwe decided on this delay expressly to facilitate the then on-going negotiations in South Africa, from 1990 onwards, concerned that nothing should be done in Zimbabwe which would so frighten the white South African population that it would oppose our own country’s transformation.

 

With regard to the land question, the prevalent view in the rest of our region, outside Zimbabwe, which we, the SADC delegation that came to Vic Falls in 2000 represented, was that given the balance of power in Africa and the rest of the world, it was strategically and tactically ill-advised to resort to revolutionary methods to address the challenge of agrarian reform in this country.

 

We were convinced and argued this with President Mugabe, that, rather, Zimbabwe should indeed confront the matter of the land question, but address it through a process of reform rather than through revolutionary means.

 

We understood very well that the process of the reform rather than the revolutionary transformation of the inherited colonial system of land ownership, meant that the Zimbabwe Government and people would have to respect the principle of market based compensation of land owners for improvements on the farms they would have to forfeit.

 

SADC took the position it adopted in part because its leadership was convinced that the regional, Continental and global progressive movement did not have the strength to overcome the determined Western opposition immediately to end the unjust colonial system of land ownership in Zimbabwe and our region.

 

In this context we had also come to understand very well that the West had absolutely no intention to provide the funds it promised solemnly, in 1979 in London and in 1998 in Harare, to compensate the white farmers for the land they would lose.

 

Whatever we might have honestly communicated to Africa and the rest of the world at the end of the April 2000 Vic Falls meeting between a SADC Presidential delegation and President Mugabe, the historical record is that the sister people of Zimbabwe succeeded to carry out a process of agrarian transformation which has fundamentally corrected an historic injustice relating to the land question in this country.

 

In this context I am happy to mention the united position taken by the democratically elected Zimbabwe political parties on the land question, in terms of which they said in the GPA that:

 

“(they accept) the inevitability and desirability of a comprehensive land reform programme in Zimbabwe that redresses the issues of historical imbalances and injustices in order to address the issues of equity, productivity, and justice.” [GPA: Article 5.3.]

 

Directly relevant to all this, I would also like to highlight the 2010 seminal book, “Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities”, written by a British academic, Ian Scoones, and his Zimbabwe colleagues, Nelson Marongwe, BlasioMavedzenge, Felix Murimbarimba, Jacob Mahenehene and ChrispenSukume.

 

In essence this well-researched treatise, based on a detailed scientific assessment of the Zimbabwe land transformation process over at least 10 years, makes two important statements.

 

One of these is that the Agrarian Revolution in this country has succeeded to transfer the land to the people.

 

The second is that the new system of land ownership, favouring the peasantry, has demonstrated its capacity successfully to address the issues of food security and the provision of the agriculture raw materials required by the manufacturing sector.

 

An academic review of the Scoones book said the book challenged “five myths (about Zimbabwe’s Land Reform) through a detailed examination of field data:

 

“Myth 1 – land reform had been a total failure;

“Myth 2 – the beneficiaries have been largely political ‘cronies’;

“Myth 3 – there is no investment in the new settlements;

“Myth 4 – agriculture is in complete ruins, creating chronic food insecurity; and,

“Myth 5 – the rural economy has collapsed.”

 

The same review says Professor Bill Kinsey of the Free University of Amsterdam recommended to the readers of the book:

 

“Whatever you thought about the land issue in Zimbabwe, be prepared to change your mind.”

 

As the Zimbabwe Agrarian Revolution ran its course, our task as the political leadership of our region focused especially on our obligation to defend the right of the people of Zimbabwe to decide what they should do to resolve the land question, and therefore, and inevitably, to defend their fundamental right to self-determination.

 

Attached to this was the hope of our region that a successful Agrarian Revolution in Zimbabwe would also address the imperatives of the economic recovery of the country, poverty reduction and food security.

 

This arose because of both our concern for the welfare of the sister people of this country and our knowledge of the level of regional integration, as a result of which our countries could not isolate themselves from important developments in this country, vice versa.

 

In this regard I must make the point that Ian Scoones and his colleagues, and other objective observers, such as the African Institute for Agrarian Studies, have made the correct and important observation that further to build on what has been achieved in this country in terms of successfully transferring ‘land to those who work it’, a serious effort must be made to support the new farmers with all-round assistance.

 

This would include upgrading the rural infrastructure, intensifying agricultural extension services, and providing the necessary credit to enable the new farmers to access the equipment, fertiliser, and other inputs, as well as the market access they need.

Of course, this must also include addressing the corrupt practice which occurred during the necessarily enormous upheaval of the Agrarian Revolution, which led the Government of Zimbabwe to take the important decision to conduct a land audit to ensure that those who had corruptly acquired land are not allowed to benefit from such corrupt practice.

 

In this regard, the September 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA), elaborated and adopted by the Zimbabwe Political Parties, states that the Parties agreed:

 

“to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit…for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships.” [GPA: Article 5.9(a)].

 

I sincerely hope that this has been, or is being done.

 

Certainly the delegates present here from Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa will recall vividly that essentially because of the Zimbabwe Agrarian Revolution, and as we feared when we met here with President Mugabe in April 2000, a veritable global and sustained political firestorm broke out, seeking to incinerate the Government of Zimbabwe as well as those of us who were seen as defenders of that Agrarian Revolution.

 

Accordingly, for many years now, various important political players in the world, as well as significant sections of the global media, have presented Zimbabwe as a ‘rogue state’ within our region, and in Africa as a whole.

 

This narrative was advanced to place on the global political agenda the fundamental proposition that because Zimbabwe was such a ‘rogue state’, it was perfectly legitimate to use all means, including through decisions of the UN Security Council, to overthrow the Government of Zimbabwe, thus to effect the necessary ‘regime change’ in this country.

 

It was perfectly clear to the political leadership in this Southern Region of Africa, and indeed the masses of the people in all our countries, that the determination by some from elsewhere in the world to effect this ‘regime change’ in Zimbabwe had to do with fundamentally undermining and weakening the historically and strategically important right of the peoples of Africa to self-determination.

 

In this regard, and contrary to the canards propagated by others from elsewhere in the world, certainly our Zimbabwe colleagues will recall that while it opposed such ‘regime change’, our region was deeply concerned about the then situation relating to democratic practice in this country, as stated in various SADC decisions.

 

For this reason our region welcomed the commitment entered into by the Zimbabwe political parties in the GPA, according to which, for instance, they said:

 

“Recognising that the right to canvass and freely mobilise for political support is the cornerstone of any multi-party democratic system, the Parties have agreed that there should be free political activity throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which all political parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for support, free of harassment and intimidation.” [GPA: Article 10].

 

Taking into account the fact that Zimbabwe will have to hold its next General Election next year, I would like to believe that the Zimbabwe political parties will honour this agreement and that our region, represented by SADC, will help the sister people of Zimbabwe in this regard.

 

We have convened here to discuss matters that relate to diamonds.

 

I can therefore imagine that some among us here tonight would have wondered why I have spent so much time talking about other matters, including the politics of our region of even more than a decade ago, without so much as a casual mention of the word – diamonds!

 

I must therefore explain that I have spoken as I have because we are meeting at the Zimbabwe Diamond Conference and not any other Diamond Conference.

 

As I am certain we all know, in the very short years since Zimbabwe started mining and exporting diamonds, this has generated much international debate that I believe has been unjustifiably hostile to Zimbabwe, and which has sought to use the Kimberley Process incorrectly to classify the Zimbabwe diamonds as ‘blood diamonds’, which should therefore not be traded internationally.

 

In this regard I must confess that since towards the end of 2008, because of other obligations towards our Continent, I have not had the opportunity to pay much attention to various matters relating to Zimbabwe, including the Kimberley Process as it bears on this country.

 

Last year, on April 13, I was privileged to address the Presidents Meeting of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses held in Dubai.

 

I beg your indulgence to quote what I said then, eighteen (18) months ago, which I believe remains relevant to this day. I said then that:

 

“I am certain that a positive response to Africa’s call focused on helping to create the African lions of which (the 2010 McKinsey Report) spoke, through adding value to its raw diamonds, would both benefit the diamond industry as a whole and reinforce the growth and development of the global economy.

 

“I am equally certain that everybody concerned should take seriously Africa’s views about the resolution of the current standoff in the Kimberley Process, centred on the issue of Zimbabwe diamonds.

 

“One of the critical points to bear in mind in this regard is the fact that the core objective of the Kimberley Process, to end the practice of the use of illegally mined diamonds to fund and prolong deadly wars, was of primary concern to us as Africans, first and foremost.

 

“Africa’s determination in this regard has not diminished. I am therefore certain that Africa, including the African Diamond Producers Association, would not support or advocate the production and sale of diamonds, especially African diamonds, contrary to the spirit and purposes of the Kimberley Process.

 

“In this regard I am certain that it will not help anybody, including you, the distinguished participants at this Presidents Meeting, that the Kimberley Process is politicised, to advance objectives other than those originally agreed at the Diamond Capital of South Africa, Kimberley, which gave its name to the Kimberley Process.

 

“In this regard I believe that all of us should take on board the weighty observation made by the Chairperson of the Kimberley Process, Minister LapfaLambang Mathieu Yamba, in his Notice of March 19, that, ‘the cessation of exports in the KPCS must be subjected to a more credible mechanism which includes verification of allegations and due process.’

 

“I believe that it was exactly to ensure such verification of allegations as well as due process that a high-level delegation of the African Diamond Producers Association visited the Zimbabwe diamond fields earlier this month, led by the South African Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, Hon Susan Shabangu…

 

“I sincerely hope that the current dispute affecting this Process will be resolved soon to avoid its breakdown, an eventuality which I am convinced nobody would desire.”

 

Eight months later after I made these remarks in Dubai, and earlier this year, I was pleased to see media reports of important statements made by the esteemed current Chairperson of the Kimberley Process, the KPCS, Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic, on February 3, 2012.

 

I refer here to what it was reported she said, that:

 

“The (Kimberley) process went through great difficulty determining how to deal with the question of diamond exports from Zimbabwe, given violence and other matters. And this showed that there was a need to look at systems, to look at definitions, to look at ways to ensure that the lessons were drawn, and that the organisation could determine best ways to become more efficient and to remain relevant. That would include the definition of conflict diamonds…

 

“But at the present time, I am told, the only country whose diamonds are fitting within the definition of conflict diamonds is diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire. And that represents, overall, far less than 1 percent of all diamonds.”

 

As I understand it, perhaps wrongly, those of us who are members of the Kimberley Process are engaged exactly in the processes to which Chairperson Milovanovic referred when she spoke about “a need to look at systems, to look at definitions, to look at ways to ensure that the lessons were drawn, and that the organisation could determine best ways to become more efficient and to remain relevant.”

 

In this regard I am certain that all of us understand and respect the fundamental practice in jurisprudence that consistent with the principle of the rule of law, all law of general application, like the prescriptions of the Kimberley Process, should not be written to target particular persons or entities.

 

I say this because as Africans we would surely agree that we should “look at the Kimberley Process systems…and definitions”, as urged by Chairperson Milovanovic.

 

At the same time, in this regard, I am certain that as Africans we should do everything possible to ensure that the Kimberly Process is insulated from any political abuse, and is therefore used to establish an equitable global assessment system consistent with the agreed goals of the Kimberley Process.

 

I am certain that among others, we will work hard to ensure that the Kimberley Process is not misused to compromise the right of Africa as a whole, a major diamond producer, to the fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination, and the right to development.

 

In this context I must also emphasise that as Africans we must remain especially vigilant that the export of African diamonds does not open or widen yet another window to the immensely pernicious illicit outflows of capital from Africa.

 

I trust that all of us at this important Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, will understand what I have just said, with regard to both Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole, about the absolute imperative we all share to end the illicit export of capital from our Continent – the sustained illegal and ‘legal’ transfer of capital from the African poor to the rich West, which have been a critical and central contributor to the underdevelopment of our Continent, and therefore the criminal impoverishment of the African masses.

 

I hope that you now understand why, earlier, I spoke to you about other matters not related to diamonds, such as this country’s tumultuous Agrarian Revolution.

 

All of us know that all manner of negative allegations have been made about diamond mining in Zimbabwe, no different in essence from the global political offensive which sought to oppose and defeat this country’s Agrarian Revolution.

 

Basing myself on my experience, I would like to exploit the privilege I have been given by Honourable Minister Dr Obert Moses Mpofu, the Zimbabwe Minister of Mines and Mining Development, to say a few additional things as I speak at this conference.

 

The first of these is that I am absolutely certain that the masses of our people throughout the entirety of our region of Southern Africa, the neighbours of Zimbabwe, are indeed very happy that the sister people of this country, have found yet another natural resource which can and should be used to ensure that our sister people achieve the sacred goal of a better life for themselves.

 

In this regard, we really hope that this natural resource, Zimbabwe’s diamond deposits, will be used genuinely to benefit the masses of the ordinary people.

 

This must also mean that this country’s political leadership, including all the Parties which serve in the current Inclusive Government established because of the GPA, must absolutely ensure that the diamond mining industry is not governed by a predatory elite which uses its access to state power to enrich itself, against the interests of the people as a whole, acting in collusion with the mining companies.

 

Accordingly, the Government of Zimbabwe must surely do everything possible to ensure the greatest possible transparency about all matters relating to the mining and marketing of diamonds, and the management and use of the resultant financial resources, precisely because the Government would have nothing to hide.

 

In this context, the Government would obviously have to put in place very strict measures to combat any corruption that might arise, related to the diamond industry.

 

I have said all this because I have no doubt that there will be people both from Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world who will see the opportunity of the exploitation of Zimbabwe’s diamond resources as, for them, a happy occasion for self-enrichment by corrupt means.

 

In all humility, I would also say that the Government of Zimbabwe must put in place a progressive and long-term policy about the management of this important natural resource heritage, as it has done with regard to land, in this case relating to this country’s diamonds.

 

This must mean sustained national access to the financial revenues deriving from the exploitation of this resource, and the use of these revenues to finance the necessary sustainable development, bearing in mind that what is mined, including diamonds, is not a renewable resource.

 

I know that Zimbabwe, like much of our region, is rich in natural resources, in addition to the land and the diamond resources we have spoken of this evening.

 

I have absolutely no doubt that Zimbabwe will evolve into one of the African Lions of which other objective observers have spoken, which will ensure that the people of this country achieve the objective we all seek of achieving the objective of a sustained and comprehensive better life.

 

Of critical importance in this context, will be how you, our Zimbabwe friends, present here today, handle your management of your natural resources, including land, diamonds, platinum, chrome, copper, coal, gold, and others of this country’s many natural resources.

 

For many years now, our region, through SADC, has called for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, which regrettably has not happened.

 

Our region made this call not to advantage the ruling Party in Zimbabwe, but to improve the socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe, in favour of the people as a whole.

 

We acted as we did as the people in place who had intimate knowledge of the situation in our countries and our neighbourhood.

 

In this regard we were very happy that earlier this year, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Judge NaviPillay, also called for the lifting of these sanctions.

 

The public position which many took relating to what UN Commissioner NaviPillay said about Zimbabwe confirmed to us as Africans, to our regret, that the issue of human rights in international politics, certainly as it relates to us, is little more than an instrument in a global political struggle weighted to undermine the assertion of our right to self determination.

 

In this regard, as I did in Dubai last year, I would appeal to you as members of the Kimberley Process, not to allow the important Kimberley Process, in whose success our Continent is genuinely interested, to be abused by anybody whatsoever, for political purposes, among others to achieve the objective of ‘regime change’ in Zimbabwe.

 

In this regard I have no doubt that Africa, as a major producer and exporter of diamonds, will participate actively and willingly in any process to improve the functioning and other elements of the Kimberley Process, as I have said.

 

However, Africa and Southern Africa as a whole share the hope for the speedy economic and political recovery of Zimbabwe.

 

Together, as a billion Africans, we believe that the Zimbabwe diamonds will help to achieve these important objectives which would benefit our Continent as whole.

 

Both the Zimbabwe political leadership and the world political powers owe a sacred obligation to the peoples of Zimbabwe and Africa to ensure that this country’s diamonds serve as the people’s best friend!

 

I sincerely hope that all of us gathered here at this World Heritage Site, MusioaThunya, will take the decisions we must, which will enable the peoples of Zimbabwe and Africa to acquire the benefit of the heritage of a better life, and thus defeat all ill-intentioned attempts to inject into the Kimberley Process objectives inimical to its original and noble purposes.

 

As Africans we can have no objection to the goal that Africa must succeed.

 

As these Africans, including as Zimbabweans, we cannot have any other objective than that Zimbabwe re-establishes herself as one of Africa’s preeminent pioneer counties.

 

You, Zimbabweans who are with us today, have an obligation to live up to this task, and therefore to honour what Africa has done to help guarantee your own right to self- determination, in Africa’s own interest.

 

Whatever your faults which as Africans we share with you, nevertheless we demand of you that you must, at all times, act in a manner that upholds and demonstrates our character as true and noble Africans.

 

Thank you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From Rags to Riches, the Obert Mpofu Story according to a Canadian non-governmental organisation -Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)

 

It is a long road from Jambezi Village in the dry district of Hwange, in Matabeleland, to the opulence and influence that currently surrounds Obert Mpofu.

Growing up in rural Jambezi, Mpofu came from a family of limited means. During the long guerilla war against the racist regime of Ian Smith, Mpofu’s family—like the majority of people in Matabeleland—supported the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), a rival liberation group to President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).

The extent of Mpofu’s direct involvement in the war as a young teenager was limited to being an occasional messenger between ZAPU comrades in then-Rhodesia and neighbouring Zambia. In his late teens he was accepted for training under legendary ZIPRA commander, Nikita Mangena; however, Mpofu was dismissed shortly afterwards

for being “untrainable and divisive within the camp” , according to a high level ZIPRA source. Mpofu’s lack of military training is supported by a former colleague who noted that while Mpofu claims to have attained the “guerilla rank equivalent of Major…he seemed clearly awkward with firearms” and needed a crash course in how to operate

and use a pistol when presented with one.

Mpofu subsequently left Zimbabwe to study journalism at the University of New Delhi.

While his career as a journalist would be short-lived—brief stints as a reporter in Zambia, and years later as a manager at Zimbabwe Newspapers—his time in India would pay dividends three decades later in securing a market for Marange’s tainted diamonds.

From Mpofu’s return from India it was clear he had ambitions for himself. In the early days of an independent Zimbabwe Mpofu made a career decision some still consider opportunistic: he renounced his family’s political roots and joined ZANU.

The reason was less political than a matter of survival. At the time Mpofu was working as a manager with Customs and Excise in Harare, where he was remembered for engaging in conduct unbecoming of a civil servant, including accepting a junket to Bulgaria from the Balkan Airlines representative at Harare International Airport.

 Hewas later investigated for allegedly smuggling some televisions into Zimbabwe.

 Several sources have confirmed that faced with the possibility of criminal charges, Mpofu sought out the advice of Enos Nkala, a ZANU patriarch, who recommend that joining

the party would result in a favourable outcome. Mpofu did and he was never charged with any infraction.

The political conversion was no small matter considering the growing repression of ZAPU supporters and leaders by President Mugabe and his party.

 The persecution culminated in the infamous Gukurahundi  massacres, in which the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade executed an estimated 20,000 people in Matabeleland. The pogroms achieved their purpose: in 1987 ZAPU leaders capitulated and merged with ZANU, effectively

marginalizing any political competition to Mugabe.

 

For Mpofu, his political conversion opened up doors, launching his career as a ZANU politician, first at the provincial level and finally at the national level where he quickly rose through the ranks. In 2000, the President appointed him Governor of Matabeleland,

and five years later, Minister of Industry and International Trade—an appointment best remembered for his failed attempt to fix commodity prices during hyperinflation, resulting in empty shops.

As he rose through the ZANU ranks, Mpofu began dabbling in the private sector.

Other than his flagship companies— Trebo and Khays, Maminza Transport58, Khanando Safari and Tours, and the recently acquired ZABG bank, which are registered companies— little is known of Mpofu’s business empire.

The Zimbabwean media has often referred to Mpofu going on a real estate “buying spree”, primarily in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, since the Marange diamond rush but have provided little corroborating evidence.

The most detailed, yet unconfirmed report, listed cash-purchases of a supermarket in Victoria Falls’ Chinotimba high density suburb, three houses in a medium-density area, two cruise boats on the Zambezi, five houses in Mkhosana high-density suburb, three houses in Chinotimba, two industrial stands, one large stand in Chisuma, one big industrial stand next to Chinotimba stadium, four industrial stands on the Airport road, and four medium-density plots.

Proving ownership of many of these properties, particularly in high-density areas, is difficult due to non-existent, or out of date, municipal records. Mpofu’s habit of not registering his smaller companies further hampers efforts to get a full picture of his business holdings.

In December 2011, however, Mpofu’s vanity got the better of him and he unwittingly gave Zimbabweans a window into his empire. He did it in the most public forum possible—a 16 page advertorial in The Chronicle, a pro-ZANU daily in Bulawayo.

The advertorial was ostensibly published and funded by Mpofu to mark his 60th birthday and his doctorate in “Policy Studies” from the Zimbabwean Open University, a distance based institution. Among the words of encouragement from family members and articles extolling Mpofu as the “minister with [a] diamond touch”, a “leader of quality and stead” and a “true people’s servant” were advertisements linked to Mpofu’s main businesses.

Among the listed companies with established links to Mpofu were Trebo and Khays, Maminza Properties, Maminza Transport, Khanondo Safari and Tours, Khanondo Car Hire, Horseshow Estate, KoMpofu La Sports Bar, Luna Rainbow Tours, Guest Paradise Lodge, Good Memories Lodge, Mswelangubo Farm, New Miners Restaurant (Hwange),

Accut and Crews Village, Moya Security and Matetsi Meat Butchery.

PAC could not definitively link Mpofu to several other businesses that took out adverts, including, Zainali Holdings, Clarendon Court P/L, Moban Investments, and Steelfab Engineering (a division of Engzib Investments). Ryan’s Brick Work was also 58 Maminza Transport (Pvt) was incorporated on September 23, 2011; listing Mpofu and his wife, Sikhanyisiwe, as the only directors.

 The company address is York House, Bulawayo.

59 Khanondo Safari and Tours (Pvt) was incorporated March 15, 2004. Directors include Mpofu, his wife, and daughter Nomsa. The company address is 46 Magpie Rd, Burnside, Bulawayo.

a company known to have installed tens of thousands of dollars of brick paving at his Umguza residence ahead of his 60th birthday party.

Like many of his ZANU brethren, Mpofu built much of his wealth through “vulture capitalism”—a money for nothing appropriation of profitable businesses and/or assets that are later “legitimized” through normal business activity.

The land seizures of the 2000’s are one expression of this phenomenon, whereby top ZANU apparatchiks acquired commercial farms and took over the business affairs of the former white owners. Without exerting any sweat equity or risking any financial

obligation with a bank a few of these individuals turned themselves into successful farmers overnight.

Many others, including Mbada CEO Robert Mhlanga and the late General Solomon Mujuru, made fortunes exploiting high value minerals—particularly gold—during Zimbabwe’s intervention in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Although a wealthy man before his appointment as Minister of Mines in 2009, Mpofu’s assets and spending habits have grown exponentially since he granted the first diamond

mining licence to Mhlanga and David Kassell, a South African scrap metal dealer, neither of whom had any prior mining experience.

With the media attention mostly focused on his real estate holdings in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, less attention has been given to his landholdings which PAC has determined likely place him in the top five landowners in the country. In Matabeleland

his holdings come second only to the 135,000ha owned by the Oppenheimer family in

Shangani, 200 kilometers northeast of Bulawayo.

Among Mpofu’s land holdings are:

• 10,006ha, North Part, Umguza Block. This is property formerly owned by Cold

Storage Commission (CSC)61 and is known specifically as Blocks 39, 40 and 41.

• 1027ha, Auchenburg Farm, Nyamandlovu.

• Green Haven farm. Located close to the Umguza River just outside Bulawayo on the

Victoria Falls road, this is a farm Mpofu has reportedly owned for some time and

where he keeps most of his herd62.

• 3,700ha, Umguza CSC Block63.

• 2,300ha, Young Farm, Nyamandlovu.

• 8000ha, Horseshoe Ranch, Matetsi. It is believed Mpofu bought this property from

Bill Bedford in 2008 for an undisclosed sum. At the time of publication, hunting and

safari operations were run by Shaun Kearney, a South African.

• 100ha, in Epping Forest B section, a part of Accut and Crew, a formerly white owned

farm bought for resettlement in 1996. Now referred to as Mswelangubo farm it

serves as Mpofu’s main residence. The property has undergone extensive upgrades

recently including approximately $150,000 on fencing and paving ahead of the

lavish December 2011 party, the cost of which is estimated at another $250,000. In

March 2012 a 10-kilometre stretch of road to this house was being resurfaced by a

brand new Caterpillar excavator—something that the Umguza Rural Council would

not have the money to do. The property also houses several commercial ventures,

including a horticulture business64, an abattoir and a chicken factory.

The Auchenburg and Young farms and Umguza Block are named as such in the 2005 list of sanctioned farms and businesses managed by the US Treasury Department’s Office

for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).65 With the exception of Horseshoe Ranch, Mpofu

acquired the rights to control most of this land for free. At this juncture an important

distinction needs to be made: the absence of any record of payment or land titles point

to Mpofu controlling, but not owning, many of these properties, particularly those that

were once State-owned.

In addition to the above listings of approximately 25,000ha, PAC has learned that

Mpofu also controls Winter Block, a 40,000ha section of land next to Umguza Block.

A source with an intimate knowledge of the Cold Storage Commission land holdings

confirms that this is an entirely separate parcel of land. Following the land invasions of

2000, Winter Block was largely divided between former Vice-President Joseph Msika

and High Court Judge Maphios Cheda. Msika died in 2009 and Cheda has maintained

only a minimal interest in the area after being awarded another farm in 2008.

Since then Mpofu has primarily used Winter Block to graze his cattle, which he has

boasted is the biggest herd in Zimbabwe. With total farm holdings of at least 65,000ha,

this would also place Mpofu amongst the country’s biggest landowners.

Mpofu’s possession of land belonging to the Cold Storage Commission is likely in

contravention with Zimbabwean law. The terms of the Land Acquisition Act—the

legislation responsible for the dispossession of most white-owned land—explicitly limits

expropriations to private and commercially held farmland, not state assets. His exclusive

use of the land raises several questions, including how Mpofu obtained this government

land, and what, if any, rent State coffers receive for its use.

Cattle hold a special place in the social status of African men. They are another form of

currency and symbol of a person’s success and influence.

In Mpofu’s case his herd is clearly a big source of personal pride and legitimate revenue.

He has said that he has a herd of about 3,000 breeding cattle, and uses a feedlot in

Umguza to fatten another herd of “about a 1,000 at a time.” Mpofu’s farm manager,

Dumisani Moyo, claims that they “sell about 50 cattle every week…and the profits are

good.”66 If those numbers are correct, Mpofu would gross as much as $50,000 a week

from this business during culling season, although some observers think his output is

closer to half that.67

Several sources confirm that the Minister is a regular attendee to auctions held by CC

Sales in Bulawayo and Harare. However, witnesses and agents alike both say they have

never seen Mpofu actually purchase any cattle himself. Most suspect it is done through

proxies, including Dumisani Moyo.

If Mpofu’s herd is as big as he says it is—approximately 4,000 cattle—he will have spent

some serious money to build and maintain it to that size. Mixed pedigree cattle sell at

auction for a minimum of $600 a head, conservatively valuing Mpofu’s cattle purchases

at over $2 million.

Mpofu’s ranching operations are run by Innocent Ncube, who is widely respected for

his farming acumen. In the last year he has also invested heavily in new infrastructure,

including a 330 metre-long shed (at a cost of $100,000) beside the railway line that

runs through Umguza.

Cattle are not Mpofu’s only passion. His acquisition of marque properties in Bulawayo

and Victoria Falls would make Mpofu the envy of any Monopoly player.

However, unlike his cattle business that actually generates income, Mpofu’s real estate

dealings appear to be a chronic cash drain on the Minister. It is estimated that since mid-

2009, Mpofu has acquired urban property in Matabeleland worth at least $5 million.

During the same time frame it is estimated he has invested at least $2.5 million in

renovations to properties in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Umguza and Nyamandlovu

His best known, and most prized, fixed assets include:

• Anchor House, Bulawayo. This five-storey building at the corner of Fort Street

and 12th Avenue is Mpofu’s most recent known acquisition. In mid-2012 it was

undergoing renovations, including a full paint job. The purchase price is unknown

but similar buildings currently sell between $1-$2 million in Bulawayo’s depressed

real estate market.

• A property commonly known as the Centrust Building, Bulawayo. Bought for

$750,000 in 2011, it is one of Mpofu’s single biggest cash purchase. The building,

located at 47 Fort St, housed several businesses including a travel agency of the same

name. The purchase included subdivision A of Stand 9.The property was bought from

the Khaley family in a deal reportedly facilitated by Bulawayo businessman Hitish

Patel. All tenants vacated the building when Mpofu hiked the rent. In March 2012

the building was empty.

• A dilapidated two-storey office block on the edge of Bulawayo’s central business

district, at the corner of Fife and First Avenue. It has been under construction for

more than two years.

• York House, Bulawayo. At seven stories, this is one of Bulawayo’s tallest buildings and

is said to be Mpofu’s pride and joy. Purchased for a song by Mpofu’s company Trebo

and Khays in 2007 during the height of hyperinflation, it was partially rented by Agri-

Bank until 2011. It is has sat empty for almost two years as it undergoes extensive

renovations, including a full interior gutting and the installation of new elevators.

Contractors familiar with the project estimate the renovations at least $1.5million.

With the long-term absence of rental income, Mpofu is undoubtedly drawing on

other sources to pay for the renovations.

• 46 Magpie Road, Bulawayo. This ostentatious two-storey property is located on a

two-hectare plot in the tony suburb of Burnside. Mpofu acquired it more than 20

years ago but it has quadrupled in size after undergoing recent renovations estimated

at $150,000. Mpofu’s Hummer has been seen at this address, as have police and

private security guards.

• 10 Livingstone Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo. Several sources confirmed they have met

Mpofu at this suburban property, which sometimes acts as his office in Bulawayo. It

has extensive security, including expensive surrounding walls, gates and guard house.

It is also where Three Waters Investments, a diamond trading company, is known to

conduct business.

Since becoming Minister of Mines, Mpofu has also made some other interesting

purchases—both for himself and some of his companies.

Air Marshall Shiri and General Philip

Sibanda

22

Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields

After Trebo and Khays, his best known business is Khanondo Safari and Tours in Victoria

Falls. According to company brochures and its website, Khanondo offers a range of

activities including boat cruises on the Zambezi River, game drives, tours as far afield as

Namibia, helicopter flights, white water rafting adventures and “VIP transfers”. All the

assets required to offer tourists these services, other than the helicopter, are “owned”

by Khanondo.68 Khanondo also offers accommodation to suit different budgets, ranging

from Guest Paradise Lodge ($120 a night) to the five star Victoria Falls Deluxe Suites

($330 for bed and breakfast).69 Khanondo also recently completed construction on the

High Mount Lodge, described by a company official as “[topping] the accommodation

rankings of Bulawayo due to its beauty and exclusivity.”70

Victoria Falls is the jewel among Zimbabwe’s disintegrating tourist attractions. But

since 2000 when land seizures, hyperinflation and political violence took hold, tourists

have largely abandoned Zimbabwe in favour of neighbouring countries. Despite the

economic setbacks suffered by many tour operators, Khanondo has made several

investments others cannot afford.

In 2011, for example, Khanondo took receipt of a brand new 80-seat boat worth

$250,000. It also took possession of the best dock on the Zambezi River and bought

a smaller boat, for more intimate breakfast and sunset cruises. Khanondo’s car rental

business also boasts the town’s only luxury fleet of cars, including Mercedes sedans,

high-end SUVs, safari jeeps and vans. The value of the cars pictured on Khanondo’s

website would conservatively be in excess of half a million dollars.71

These are not Mpofu’s only luxury vehicles. He personally owns several cars but his two

favourites are a new Range Rover Sport (base price: $80,000) and a black Hummer

($60,000). The former is regularly seen at his Burnside residence. Largely because of its

gas guzzling thirst the Hummer is a rarity in Zimbabwe, even among other elites, where

the price of petrol is high and shortages are frequent.

Since becoming Minister, another Mpofu company, Maminza Transport, has also come

into possession of several Volvo heavy haulage trucks and some drilling equipment.

The FH 12 model trucks, believed to be as many as eight, are kept at the former Clan

Transport depot on the Plumtree Road in Bulawayo. Both trucks and drilling equipment

have been seen in Hwange, where coal is mined, raising the possibility that Mpofu is

diversifying into another resource under his ministerial control. In August 2011 Mpofu

controversially appointed Farai Mutamangira, a friend and lawyer who he has hired to

represent Zimbabwe over its KP compliance issues, to be CEO of the Hwange Colliery,

a state-owned coal company72. The trucks, which retail at over $100,000 a piece, are

decaled with “Maminza Transport” signs on the doors and “OMM”—Obert Moses

Mpofu—and a sequential number stenciled above windscreen.

The origin of the trucks is a mystery. There is only one Volvo dealer in Southern Africa—

Babcock Africa Services in Johannesburg. Because Mpofu is listed on EU and US

sanctions over concerns of his involvement in either corrupt or violent activity, it is illegal

for an international company like Volvo, through Babcock, to sell these trucks directly

to Mpofu.

One explanation could be that Mpofu purchased them through a proxy company

completely unassociated with his name—a loophole famously exploited by other named

individuals like Billy Rautenbach.

Another answer may lie in the November 2010 collapse of Core Mining, the South

African diamond company that joint ventured with the ZMDC to form Canadile. In

February 2012 Babcock won a liquidation order against Core Mining in South African

court for unpaid debts of $1.4 million, including for similar Volvo trucks.73

Since Canadile’s implosion the company has reverted to being a wholly owned entity

of the government. Operating as Marange Resources the company is wholly owned by

the ZMDC, a State agency under Mpofu’s ministerial control. As Marange Resources

has retained most of Core’s assets there is very little prospect of Babcock being able to

collect on its judgment.

This raises two possible scenarios that Mpofu should clarify as soon as possible: did

he acquire these trucks at great personal expense and in breach of Western economic

measures or he is in possession of former Core Mining property that legally belongs to

Babcock?

Of all Obert Mpofu’s acquisitions, none of them raised so much public interest as his

May 2012 purchase of the asset-less Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.

ZABG has a storied history. Created by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono during

hyper-inflationary times, it was always viewed with suspicion by the banking sector

which perceived it as a vehicle through which ZANU insiders carried out currency

manipulations—a fact highlighted by the bank’s decline following the dollarization of

the economy in 2009.

What Mpofu paid for the worthless bank is unknown. One media report claimed he

spent $22.5 million74, while another put the figure at $27.8 million, after accounting

for ZABG debts of $15.3 million75. What is certain is Mpofu, through his company Trebo

and Khays, invested at least $12.5 million—the minimum capitalization required by

banking laws to operate. Gideon Gono has also confirmed that Mpofu is the “99.9%

shareholder” of ZABG, although he has two years within which to “regularize the

ownership structure” so no one shareholder can own more than 25 percent.76

Why would Mpofu want to refloat a bankrupt bank? What benefit could it serve him?

Some speculate that the reason is simply about ego. “Once you have a farm and a safari

lodge, why not a bank?” one banker told PAC77. Others see it as a chance to capture

the banking business of ZANU supporters in Matabeleland and increase his political

prestige. Others, a way to dispense patronage and nepotism78. All are valid, especially

after he announced his intentions to move the bank from Harare to Bulawayo.

Less charitable banking sources point out similar banks, in the hands of other people,

have been used for another purpose: laundering illicit revenue streams. How the

laundering is done can take several forms, including extending bogus loans which go

into default, or paying employees, often family members, at rates higher than industry

standards.

Having only taken control of ZABG in August 2012, there is no evidence Mpofu

has engaged in any money laundering; rather his prime motivation has a diamond

connection that has been overlooked by almost everyone. In March 2012, cabinet took

a decision to compel all mining companies to bank their money with local financial

institutions following revelations that mining companies—including ones operating in

Marange—were stashing billions of dollars in foreign accounts.79

The decision has merit—capital flight is bad for any economy—but Mpofu’s ownership

of the bank opens the door to possible charges of conflict of interest once mining

companies, which are dependent on his ministerial approval for their projects, start

shopping for a local bank. Do they take their business to ZABG, for example, in the

hopes it will guarantee a favourable decision?

ZABG is not the only business through which Mpofu has used his ministerial position

to benefit from diamonds. Mpofu also has a close relationship to Three Waters

Investment, a diamond trading company based out of one of his Bulawayo properties,

10 Livingstone Road. Operations are aided by Nyasha Mpofu, a trained diamond sorter,

who has a reputation for dealing only in top quality gem diamonds. She is also known

to personally arrange for diamond shipments to Johannesburg. PAC could not confirm

claims that she is a relative of the minister. Sources say the company is not part of the

emerging cutting and polishing industry—against which Mpofu was forced to act in

2011 following concerns companies were illegally trading diamonds.81

The perception—real or perceived—that a relative of the Minister is obtaining a pecuniary

benefit from an industry over which he has fiduciary responsibility is troubling. It raises

multiple conflicts of interest for the Minister. Prime among them: What role did he

personally play in procuring diamonds for Three Waters Investment or facilitating their

export?

What is not in doubt is how diamonds have helped to boost Mpofu’s political influence

and aspirations within ZANU structures.

He is now clearly considered the ZANU patron in Matabeleland, to which his political

lessers pay homage and seek protection. He routinely dispenses philanthropy and

personal patronage on a scale unmatched anywhere else in Zimbabwe.

In February 2012, for example, he provided a generator to Chinotimba Clinic in Victoria

Falls82. A few months later, in June, he and his wife are reported to have distributed

 

ten tonnes of grain to 600 families in the district of Ntabazinduna. One media report

pegged the value of the donation at $180,00084. The next month he visited another

village in Matabeleland with gifts of grain, heifers for the chiefs, and a promise to build

a chief’s hall85. He is often referred to as being a patron of the financially beleaguered

Highlanders Football Club and the Umguza Sinjalo Message Choir. His election as ZANU’s

only representative in Matabeleland in the 2008 elections has often been attributed to

his personal attention to his constituents needs, including the payment of school fees

for primary going children.

Diamonds have also allowed Mpofu to flex his muscles within ZANU circles. While

any presidential ambitions are firmly in check—as a minority Ndebele the chances of

winning the confidence of his Shona countrymen are nil—he has made no secret of

his intentions to seek one of two ZANU vice-presidencies86, upon the resignation of

incumbent, John Nkomo, who is cancer-stricken.

Mpofu’s aspirations, however, face one small obstacle: one of the vice-presidencies

is reserved for someone who was a ZAPU member at the time of the 1987 ZANUZAPU

power sharing agreement. Mpofu jumped ship in 1982, therefore making him

ineligible, at least in theory.

This rule, however, is not set in stone. Mpofu has deftly played on his Marange

connections to cultivate key former ZIPRA members who could play decisive roles

advancing his political ambitions. This is particularly the case with Tshinga Dube, the

CEO of Marange Resources, former CEO of ZDI and a member of ZANU’s politburo, the

party’s supreme decision-making body.

Mpofu’s deference to the military chiefs who control and exploit Marange’s riches—

especially those aligned to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, the heir apparent

when President Mugabe dies—also bode well for his efforts to consolidate his place

within the ZANU hierarchy.

Mpofu’s recent financial windfall and political prestige is a fundamental matter of public

interest. Any time a senior politician in any country is allowed to amass an unexplained

fortune, as Mpofu has done, questions must be asked not only about how that came

to be, but why no steps have been taken to investigate possible financial wrongdoing

or usurping of the public good.

Mpofu’s wealth is symbolic of the larger mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s natural

Resources.

 Certainly, he has become very rich since becoming the Minister of Mines,

making him a figurehead for the illegality occurring in Marange, but this story is about

more than Obert Mpofu alone. Ultimately it is about the greed and corruption that lies

at the heart of ZANU as a political institution.

ZANU’s vulture capitalism has never been a one-man operation. From asset stripping of

state enterprises to farm seizures to currency manipulations during hyper-inflation to

Marange, their track record shows that ZANU hunts and feasts as a pack. Their strength

lies in their unity, not their individual parts. They are deeply distrustful of each other,

leading those involved in any illegal venture to share the profits, rather than allow one

individual to amass wealth on the collective’s behalf, or expense. Like a gang, they

achieve conformity within the group by ensuring that everyone is implicated in the

illegality.

Those that have gotten too greedy, or sought to exit the game, have paid a hard price.

They have been publicly ridiculed, politically ostracized, forced into exile, and often

stripped of their wealth with the same speed with which they amassed it.

Those who know Mpofu say he is not capable of single-handedly masterminding events

in Marange, but he is smart enough to know how to help those that do. That he has

survived this long, shows he has enough sense to know that his continued beneficiation

is linked to placating the needs of a small and tight group of political and military elites

who have been in charge of Marange since the very beginning.

Zimbabwe cannot be allowed to continue to trade diamonds in this fashion. Those

who naively or willfully look the other way to Zimbabwe’s mismanagement of its

diamond deposits—as the Kimberley Process has done—will only undermine consumer

confidence in the diamond sector.

Industry members, particularly those in South Africa, Dubai and India, who in any way

associate themselves with the companies operating in Zimbabwe—whether deemed

KP compliant or not—should be under no illusion as to the criminal elements they are

dealing with. They are not helping the economic recovery of an impoverished country.

In fact, they are doing the opposite—they are enabling corruption and those who have

led political repression and violence in Zimbabwe.

Improvements will only come if there is a unified response, beginning with industry

members, but supported by national governments, that demands better of Zimbabwe.

The next section offers suggestions on possible ways to support such efforts.

A good example of this is Mutumwa Mawere, Zimbabwe’s “first indigenous mining entrepreneur” who saw his

business empire disappear after his relationship with ZANU insiders, particularly Emmerson Mnangagwa, soured after greed

got the better of him. Once the toast of both the South African and Zimbabwe business communities Mawere was forced

into exile and accused of bilking millions from investors in an asbestos mine he had acquired and asset stripped on behalf

of ZANU associates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From Rags to Riches, the Obert Mpofu Story according to a Canadian non-governmental organisation -Partnership Africa Canada (PAC)

It is a long road from Jambezi Village in the dry district of Hwange, in Matabeleland, to the opulence and influence that currently surrounds Obert Mpofu.
Growing up in rural Jambezi, Mpofu came from a family of limited means. During the long guerilla war against the racist regime of Ian Smith, Mpofu’s family—like the majority of people in Matabeleland—supported the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), a rival liberation group to President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
The extent of Mpofu’s direct involvement in the war as a young teenager was limited to being an occasional messenger between ZAPU comrades in then-Rhodesia and neighbouring Zambia. In his late teens he was accepted for training under legendary ZIPRA commander, Nikita Mangena; however, Mpofu was dismissed shortly afterwards
for being “untrainable and divisive within the camp” , according to a high level ZIPRA source. Mpofu’s lack of military training is supported by a former colleague who noted that while Mpofu claims to have attained the “guerilla rank equivalent of Major…he seemed clearly awkward with firearms” and needed a crash course in how to operate
and use a pistol when presented with one.
Mpofu subsequently left Zimbabwe to study journalism at the University of New Delhi.
While his career as a journalist would be short-lived—brief stints as a reporter in Zambia, and years later as a manager at Zimbabwe Newspapers—his time in India would pay dividends three decades later in securing a market for Marange’s tainted diamonds.
From Mpofu’s return from India it was clear he had ambitions for himself. In the early days of an independent Zimbabwe Mpofu made a career decision some still consider opportunistic: he renounced his family’s political roots and joined ZANU.
The reason was less political than a matter of survival. At the time Mpofu was working as a manager with Customs and Excise in Harare, where he was remembered for engaging in conduct unbecoming of a civil servant, including accepting a junket to Bulgaria from the Balkan Airlines representative at Harare International Airport.
Hewas later investigated for allegedly smuggling some televisions into Zimbabwe.
Several sources have confirmed that faced with the possibility of criminal charges, Mpofu sought out the advice of Enos Nkala, a ZANU patriarch, who recommend that joining
the party would result in a favourable outcome. Mpofu did and he was never charged with any infraction.
The political conversion was no small matter considering the growing repression of ZAPU supporters and leaders by President Mugabe and his party.
The persecution culminated in the infamous Gukurahundi massacres, in which the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade executed an estimated 20,000 people in Matabeleland. The pogroms achieved their purpose: in 1987 ZAPU leaders capitulated and merged with ZANU, effectively
marginalizing any political competition to Mugabe.

For Mpofu, his political conversion opened up doors, launching his career as a ZANU politician, first at the provincial level and finally at the national level where he quickly rose through the ranks. In 2000, the President appointed him Governor of Matabeleland,
and five years later, Minister of Industry and International Trade—an appointment best remembered for his failed attempt to fix commodity prices during hyperinflation, resulting in empty shops.
As he rose through the ZANU ranks, Mpofu began dabbling in the private sector.
Other than his flagship companies— Trebo and Khays, Maminza Transport58, Khanando Safari and Tours, and the recently acquired ZABG bank, which are registered companies— little is known of Mpofu’s business empire.
The Zimbabwean media has often referred to Mpofu going on a real estate “buying spree”, primarily in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, since the Marange diamond rush but have provided little corroborating evidence.
The most detailed, yet unconfirmed report, listed cash-purchases of a supermarket in Victoria Falls’ Chinotimba high density suburb, three houses in a medium-density area, two cruise boats on the Zambezi, five houses in Mkhosana high-density suburb, three houses in Chinotimba, two industrial stands, one large stand in Chisuma, one big industrial stand next to Chinotimba stadium, four industrial stands on the Airport road, and four medium-density plots.
Proving ownership of many of these properties, particularly in high-density areas, is difficult due to non-existent, or out of date, municipal records. Mpofu’s habit of not registering his smaller companies further hampers efforts to get a full picture of his business holdings.
In December 2011, however, Mpofu’s vanity got the better of him and he unwittingly gave Zimbabweans a window into his empire. He did it in the most public forum possible—a 16 page advertorial in The Chronicle, a pro-ZANU daily in Bulawayo.
The advertorial was ostensibly published and funded by Mpofu to mark his 60th birthday and his doctorate in “Policy Studies” from the Zimbabwean Open University, a distance based institution. Among the words of encouragement from family members and articles extolling Mpofu as the “minister with [a] diamond touch”, a “leader of quality and stead” and a “true people’s servant” were advertisements linked to Mpofu’s main businesses.
Among the listed companies with established links to Mpofu were Trebo and Khays, Maminza Properties, Maminza Transport, Khanondo Safari and Tours, Khanondo Car Hire, Horseshow Estate, KoMpofu La Sports Bar, Luna Rainbow Tours, Guest Paradise Lodge, Good Memories Lodge, Mswelangubo Farm, New Miners Restaurant (Hwange),
Accut and Crews Village, Moya Security and Matetsi Meat Butchery.
PAC could not definitively link Mpofu to several other businesses that took out adverts, including, Zainali Holdings, Clarendon Court P/L, Moban Investments, and Steelfab Engineering (a division of Engzib Investments). Ryan’s Brick Work was also 58 Maminza Transport (Pvt) was incorporated on September 23, 2011; listing Mpofu and his wife, Sikhanyisiwe, as the only directors.
The company address is York House, Bulawayo.
59 Khanondo Safari and Tours (Pvt) was incorporated March 15, 2004. Directors include Mpofu, his wife, and daughter Nomsa. The company address is 46 Magpie Rd, Burnside, Bulawayo.
a company known to have installed tens of thousands of dollars of brick paving at his Umguza residence ahead of his 60th birthday party.
Like many of his ZANU brethren, Mpofu built much of his wealth through “vulture capitalism”—a money for nothing appropriation of profitable businesses and/or assets that are later “legitimized” through normal business activity.
The land seizures of the 2000’s are one expression of this phenomenon, whereby top ZANU apparatchiks acquired commercial farms and took over the business affairs of the former white owners. Without exerting any sweat equity or risking any financial
obligation with a bank a few of these individuals turned themselves into successful farmers overnight.
Many others, including Mbada CEO Robert Mhlanga and the late General Solomon Mujuru, made fortunes exploiting high value minerals—particularly gold—during Zimbabwe’s intervention in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Although a wealthy man before his appointment as Minister of Mines in 2009, Mpofu’s assets and spending habits have grown exponentially since he granted the first diamond
mining licence to Mhlanga and David Kassell, a South African scrap metal dealer, neither of whom had any prior mining experience.
With the media attention mostly focused on his real estate holdings in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, less attention has been given to his landholdings which PAC has determined likely place him in the top five landowners in the country. In Matabeleland
his holdings come second only to the 135,000ha owned by the Oppenheimer family in
Shangani, 200 kilometers northeast of Bulawayo.
Among Mpofu’s land holdings are:
• 10,006ha, North Part, Umguza Block. This is property formerly owned by Cold
Storage Commission (CSC)61 and is known specifically as Blocks 39, 40 and 41.
• 1027ha, Auchenburg Farm, Nyamandlovu.
• Green Haven farm. Located close to the Umguza River just outside Bulawayo on the
Victoria Falls road, this is a farm Mpofu has reportedly owned for some time and
where he keeps most of his herd62.
• 3,700ha, Umguza CSC Block63.
• 2,300ha, Young Farm, Nyamandlovu.
• 8000ha, Horseshoe Ranch, Matetsi. It is believed Mpofu bought this property from
Bill Bedford in 2008 for an undisclosed sum. At the time of publication, hunting and
safari operations were run by Shaun Kearney, a South African.
• 100ha, in Epping Forest B section, a part of Accut and Crew, a formerly white owned
farm bought for resettlement in 1996. Now referred to as Mswelangubo farm it
serves as Mpofu’s main residence. The property has undergone extensive upgrades
recently including approximately $150,000 on fencing and paving ahead of the
lavish December 2011 party, the cost of which is estimated at another $250,000. In
March 2012 a 10-kilometre stretch of road to this house was being resurfaced by a
brand new Caterpillar excavator—something that the Umguza Rural Council would
not have the money to do. The property also houses several commercial ventures,
including a horticulture business64, an abattoir and a chicken factory.
The Auchenburg and Young farms and Umguza Block are named as such in the 2005 list of sanctioned farms and businesses managed by the US Treasury Department’s Office
for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).65 With the exception of Horseshoe Ranch, Mpofu
acquired the rights to control most of this land for free. At this juncture an important
distinction needs to be made: the absence of any record of payment or land titles point
to Mpofu controlling, but not owning, many of these properties, particularly those that
were once State-owned.
In addition to the above listings of approximately 25,000ha, PAC has learned that
Mpofu also controls Winter Block, a 40,000ha section of land next to Umguza Block.
A source with an intimate knowledge of the Cold Storage Commission land holdings
confirms that this is an entirely separate parcel of land. Following the land invasions of
2000, Winter Block was largely divided between former Vice-President Joseph Msika
and High Court Judge Maphios Cheda. Msika died in 2009 and Cheda has maintained
only a minimal interest in the area after being awarded another farm in 2008.
Since then Mpofu has primarily used Winter Block to graze his cattle, which he has
boasted is the biggest herd in Zimbabwe. With total farm holdings of at least 65,000ha,
this would also place Mpofu amongst the country’s biggest landowners.
Mpofu’s possession of land belonging to the Cold Storage Commission is likely in
contravention with Zimbabwean law. The terms of the Land Acquisition Act—the
legislation responsible for the dispossession of most white-owned land—explicitly limits
expropriations to private and commercially held farmland, not state assets. His exclusive
use of the land raises several questions, including how Mpofu obtained this government
land, and what, if any, rent State coffers receive for its use.
Cattle hold a special place in the social status of African men. They are another form of
currency and symbol of a person’s success and influence.
In Mpofu’s case his herd is clearly a big source of personal pride and legitimate revenue.
He has said that he has a herd of about 3,000 breeding cattle, and uses a feedlot in
Umguza to fatten another herd of “about a 1,000 at a time.” Mpofu’s farm manager,
Dumisani Moyo, claims that they “sell about 50 cattle every week…and the profits are
good.”66 If those numbers are correct, Mpofu would gross as much as $50,000 a week
from this business during culling season, although some observers think his output is
closer to half that.67
Several sources confirm that the Minister is a regular attendee to auctions held by CC
Sales in Bulawayo and Harare. However, witnesses and agents alike both say they have
never seen Mpofu actually purchase any cattle himself. Most suspect it is done through
proxies, including Dumisani Moyo.
If Mpofu’s herd is as big as he says it is—approximately 4,000 cattle—he will have spent
some serious money to build and maintain it to that size. Mixed pedigree cattle sell at
auction for a minimum of $600 a head, conservatively valuing Mpofu’s cattle purchases
at over $2 million.
Mpofu’s ranching operations are run by Innocent Ncube, who is widely respected for
his farming acumen. In the last year he has also invested heavily in new infrastructure,
including a 330 metre-long shed (at a cost of $100,000) beside the railway line that
runs through Umguza.
Cattle are not Mpofu’s only passion. His acquisition of marque properties in Bulawayo
and Victoria Falls would make Mpofu the envy of any Monopoly player.
However, unlike his cattle business that actually generates income, Mpofu’s real estate
dealings appear to be a chronic cash drain on the Minister. It is estimated that since mid-
2009, Mpofu has acquired urban property in Matabeleland worth at least $5 million.
During the same time frame it is estimated he has invested at least $2.5 million in
renovations to properties in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Umguza and Nyamandlovu
His best known, and most prized, fixed assets include:
• Anchor House, Bulawayo. This five-storey building at the corner of Fort Street
and 12th Avenue is Mpofu’s most recent known acquisition. In mid-2012 it was
undergoing renovations, including a full paint job. The purchase price is unknown
but similar buildings currently sell between $1-$2 million in Bulawayo’s depressed
real estate market.
• A property commonly known as the Centrust Building, Bulawayo. Bought for
$750,000 in 2011, it is one of Mpofu’s single biggest cash purchase. The building,
located at 47 Fort St, housed several businesses including a travel agency of the same
name. The purchase included subdivision A of Stand 9.The property was bought from
the Khaley family in a deal reportedly facilitated by Bulawayo businessman Hitish
Patel. All tenants vacated the building when Mpofu hiked the rent. In March 2012
the building was empty.
• A dilapidated two-storey office block on the edge of Bulawayo’s central business
district, at the corner of Fife and First Avenue. It has been under construction for
more than two years.
• York House, Bulawayo. At seven stories, this is one of Bulawayo’s tallest buildings and
is said to be Mpofu’s pride and joy. Purchased for a song by Mpofu’s company Trebo
and Khays in 2007 during the height of hyperinflation, it was partially rented by Agri-
Bank until 2011. It is has sat empty for almost two years as it undergoes extensive
renovations, including a full interior gutting and the installation of new elevators.
Contractors familiar with the project estimate the renovations at least $1.5million.
With the long-term absence of rental income, Mpofu is undoubtedly drawing on
other sources to pay for the renovations.
• 46 Magpie Road, Bulawayo. This ostentatious two-storey property is located on a
two-hectare plot in the tony suburb of Burnside. Mpofu acquired it more than 20
years ago but it has quadrupled in size after undergoing recent renovations estimated
at $150,000. Mpofu’s Hummer has been seen at this address, as have police and
private security guards.
• 10 Livingstone Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo. Several sources confirmed they have met
Mpofu at this suburban property, which sometimes acts as his office in Bulawayo. It
has extensive security, including expensive surrounding walls, gates and guard house.
It is also where Three Waters Investments, a diamond trading company, is known to
conduct business.
Since becoming Minister of Mines, Mpofu has also made some other interesting
purchases—both for himself and some of his companies.
Air Marshall Shiri and General Philip
Sibanda
22
Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields
After Trebo and Khays, his best known business is Khanondo Safari and Tours in Victoria
Falls. According to company brochures and its website, Khanondo offers a range of
activities including boat cruises on the Zambezi River, game drives, tours as far afield as
Namibia, helicopter flights, white water rafting adventures and “VIP transfers”. All the
assets required to offer tourists these services, other than the helicopter, are “owned”
by Khanondo.68 Khanondo also offers accommodation to suit different budgets, ranging
from Guest Paradise Lodge ($120 a night) to the five star Victoria Falls Deluxe Suites
($330 for bed and breakfast).69 Khanondo also recently completed construction on the
High Mount Lodge, described by a company official as “[topping] the accommodation
rankings of Bulawayo due to its beauty and exclusivity.”70
Victoria Falls is the jewel among Zimbabwe’s disintegrating tourist attractions. But
since 2000 when land seizures, hyperinflation and political violence took hold, tourists
have largely abandoned Zimbabwe in favour of neighbouring countries. Despite the
economic setbacks suffered by many tour operators, Khanondo has made several
investments others cannot afford.
In 2011, for example, Khanondo took receipt of a brand new 80-seat boat worth
$250,000. It also took possession of the best dock on the Zambezi River and bought
a smaller boat, for more intimate breakfast and sunset cruises. Khanondo’s car rental
business also boasts the town’s only luxury fleet of cars, including Mercedes sedans,
high-end SUVs, safari jeeps and vans. The value of the cars pictured on Khanondo’s
website would conservatively be in excess of half a million dollars.71
These are not Mpofu’s only luxury vehicles. He personally owns several cars but his two
favourites are a new Range Rover Sport (base price: $80,000) and a black Hummer
($60,000). The former is regularly seen at his Burnside residence. Largely because of its
gas guzzling thirst the Hummer is a rarity in Zimbabwe, even among other elites, where
the price of petrol is high and shortages are frequent.
Since becoming Minister, another Mpofu company, Maminza Transport, has also come
into possession of several Volvo heavy haulage trucks and some drilling equipment.
The FH 12 model trucks, believed to be as many as eight, are kept at the former Clan
Transport depot on the Plumtree Road in Bulawayo. Both trucks and drilling equipment
have been seen in Hwange, where coal is mined, raising the possibility that Mpofu is
diversifying into another resource under his ministerial control. In August 2011 Mpofu
controversially appointed Farai Mutamangira, a friend and lawyer who he has hired to
represent Zimbabwe over its KP compliance issues, to be CEO of the Hwange Colliery,
a state-owned coal company72. The trucks, which retail at over $100,000 a piece, are
decaled with “Maminza Transport” signs on the doors and “OMM”—Obert Moses
Mpofu—and a sequential number stenciled above windscreen.
The origin of the trucks is a mystery. There is only one Volvo dealer in Southern Africa—
Babcock Africa Services in Johannesburg. Because Mpofu is listed on EU and US
sanctions over concerns of his involvement in either corrupt or violent activity, it is illegal
for an international company like Volvo, through Babcock, to sell these trucks directly
to Mpofu.
One explanation could be that Mpofu purchased them through a proxy company
completely unassociated with his name—a loophole famously exploited by other named
individuals like Billy Rautenbach.
Another answer may lie in the November 2010 collapse of Core Mining, the South
African diamond company that joint ventured with the ZMDC to form Canadile. In
February 2012 Babcock won a liquidation order against Core Mining in South African
court for unpaid debts of $1.4 million, including for similar Volvo trucks.73
Since Canadile’s implosion the company has reverted to being a wholly owned entity
of the government. Operating as Marange Resources the company is wholly owned by
the ZMDC, a State agency under Mpofu’s ministerial control. As Marange Resources
has retained most of Core’s assets there is very little prospect of Babcock being able to
collect on its judgment.
This raises two possible scenarios that Mpofu should clarify as soon as possible: did
he acquire these trucks at great personal expense and in breach of Western economic
measures or he is in possession of former Core Mining property that legally belongs to
Babcock?
Of all Obert Mpofu’s acquisitions, none of them raised so much public interest as his
May 2012 purchase of the asset-less Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group.
ZABG has a storied history. Created by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono during
hyper-inflationary times, it was always viewed with suspicion by the banking sector
which perceived it as a vehicle through which ZANU insiders carried out currency
manipulations—a fact highlighted by the bank’s decline following the dollarization of
the economy in 2009.
What Mpofu paid for the worthless bank is unknown. One media report claimed he
spent $22.5 million74, while another put the figure at $27.8 million, after accounting
for ZABG debts of $15.3 million75. What is certain is Mpofu, through his company Trebo
and Khays, invested at least $12.5 million—the minimum capitalization required by
banking laws to operate. Gideon Gono has also confirmed that Mpofu is the “99.9%
shareholder” of ZABG, although he has two years within which to “regularize the
ownership structure” so no one shareholder can own more than 25 percent.76
Why would Mpofu want to refloat a bankrupt bank? What benefit could it serve him?
Some speculate that the reason is simply about ego. “Once you have a farm and a safari
lodge, why not a bank?” one banker told PAC77. Others see it as a chance to capture
the banking business of ZANU supporters in Matabeleland and increase his political
prestige. Others, a way to dispense patronage and nepotism78. All are valid, especially
after he announced his intentions to move the bank from Harare to Bulawayo.
Less charitable banking sources point out similar banks, in the hands of other people,
have been used for another purpose: laundering illicit revenue streams. How the
laundering is done can take several forms, including extending bogus loans which go
into default, or paying employees, often family members, at rates higher than industry
standards.
Having only taken control of ZABG in August 2012, there is no evidence Mpofu
has engaged in any money laundering; rather his prime motivation has a diamond
connection that has been overlooked by almost everyone. In March 2012, cabinet took
a decision to compel all mining companies to bank their money with local financial
institutions following revelations that mining companies—including ones operating in
Marange—were stashing billions of dollars in foreign accounts.79
The decision has merit—capital flight is bad for any economy—but Mpofu’s ownership
of the bank opens the door to possible charges of conflict of interest once mining
companies, which are dependent on his ministerial approval for their projects, start
shopping for a local bank. Do they take their business to ZABG, for example, in the
hopes it will guarantee a favourable decision?
ZABG is not the only business through which Mpofu has used his ministerial position
to benefit from diamonds. Mpofu also has a close relationship to Three Waters
Investment, a diamond trading company based out of one of his Bulawayo properties,
10 Livingstone Road. Operations are aided by Nyasha Mpofu, a trained diamond sorter,
who has a reputation for dealing only in top quality gem diamonds. She is also known
to personally arrange for diamond shipments to Johannesburg. PAC could not confirm
claims that she is a relative of the minister. Sources say the company is not part of the
emerging cutting and polishing industry—against which Mpofu was forced to act in
2011 following concerns companies were illegally trading diamonds.81
The perception—real or perceived—that a relative of the Minister is obtaining a pecuniary
benefit from an industry over which he has fiduciary responsibility is troubling. It raises
multiple conflicts of interest for the Minister. Prime among them: What role did he
personally play in procuring diamonds for Three Waters Investment or facilitating their
export?
What is not in doubt is how diamonds have helped to boost Mpofu’s political influence
and aspirations within ZANU structures.
He is now clearly considered the ZANU patron in Matabeleland, to which his political
lessers pay homage and seek protection. He routinely dispenses philanthropy and
personal patronage on a scale unmatched anywhere else in Zimbabwe.
In February 2012, for example, he provided a generator to Chinotimba Clinic in Victoria
Falls82. A few months later, in June, he and his wife are reported to have distributed

ten tonnes of grain to 600 families in the district of Ntabazinduna. One media report
pegged the value of the donation at $180,00084. The next month he visited another
village in Matabeleland with gifts of grain, heifers for the chiefs, and a promise to build
a chief’s hall85. He is often referred to as being a patron of the financially beleaguered
Highlanders Football Club and the Umguza Sinjalo Message Choir. His election as ZANU’s
only representative in Matabeleland in the 2008 elections has often been attributed to
his personal attention to his constituents needs, including the payment of school fees
for primary going children.
Diamonds have also allowed Mpofu to flex his muscles within ZANU circles. While
any presidential ambitions are firmly in check—as a minority Ndebele the chances of
winning the confidence of his Shona countrymen are nil—he has made no secret of
his intentions to seek one of two ZANU vice-presidencies86, upon the resignation of
incumbent, John Nkomo, who is cancer-stricken.
Mpofu’s aspirations, however, face one small obstacle: one of the vice-presidencies
is reserved for someone who was a ZAPU member at the time of the 1987 ZANUZAPU
power sharing agreement. Mpofu jumped ship in 1982, therefore making him
ineligible, at least in theory.
This rule, however, is not set in stone. Mpofu has deftly played on his Marange
connections to cultivate key former ZIPRA members who could play decisive roles
advancing his political ambitions. This is particularly the case with Tshinga Dube, the
CEO of Marange Resources, former CEO of ZDI and a member of ZANU’s politburo, the
party’s supreme decision-making body.
Mpofu’s deference to the military chiefs who control and exploit Marange’s riches—
especially those aligned to Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, the heir apparent
when President Mugabe dies—also bode well for his efforts to consolidate his place
within the ZANU hierarchy.
Mpofu’s recent financial windfall and political prestige is a fundamental matter of public
interest. Any time a senior politician in any country is allowed to amass an unexplained
fortune, as Mpofu has done, questions must be asked not only about how that came
to be, but why no steps have been taken to investigate possible financial wrongdoing
or usurping of the public good.
Mpofu’s wealth is symbolic of the larger mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s natural
Resources.
Certainly, he has become very rich since becoming the Minister of Mines,
making him a figurehead for the illegality occurring in Marange, but this story is about
more than Obert Mpofu alone. Ultimately it is about the greed and corruption that lies
at the heart of ZANU as a political institution.
ZANU’s vulture capitalism has never been a one-man operation. From asset stripping of
state enterprises to farm seizures to currency manipulations during hyper-inflation to
Marange, their track record shows that ZANU hunts and feasts as a pack. Their strength
lies in their unity, not their individual parts. They are deeply distrustful of each other,
leading those involved in any illegal venture to share the profits, rather than allow one
individual to amass wealth on the collective’s behalf, or expense. Like a gang, they
achieve conformity within the group by ensuring that everyone is implicated in the
illegality.
Those that have gotten too greedy, or sought to exit the game, have paid a hard price.
They have been publicly ridiculed, politically ostracized, forced into exile, and often
stripped of their wealth with the same speed with which they amassed it.
Those who know Mpofu say he is not capable of single-handedly masterminding events
in Marange, but he is smart enough to know how to help those that do. That he has
survived this long, shows he has enough sense to know that his continued beneficiation
is linked to placating the needs of a small and tight group of political and military elites
who have been in charge of Marange since the very beginning.
Zimbabwe cannot be allowed to continue to trade diamonds in this fashion. Those
who naively or willfully look the other way to Zimbabwe’s mismanagement of its
diamond deposits—as the Kimberley Process has done—will only undermine consumer
confidence in the diamond sector.
Industry members, particularly those in South Africa, Dubai and India, who in any way
associate themselves with the companies operating in Zimbabwe—whether deemed
KP compliant or not—should be under no illusion as to the criminal elements they are
dealing with. They are not helping the economic recovery of an impoverished country.
In fact, they are doing the opposite—they are enabling corruption and those who have
led political repression and violence in Zimbabwe.
Improvements will only come if there is a unified response, beginning with industry
members, but supported by national governments, that demands better of Zimbabwe.
The next section offers suggestions on possible ways to support such efforts.
A good example of this is Mutumwa Mawere, Zimbabwe’s “first indigenous mining entrepreneur” who saw his
business empire disappear after his relationship with ZANU insiders, particularly Emmerson Mnangagwa, soured after greed
got the better of him. Once the toast of both the South African and Zimbabwe business communities Mawere was forced
into exile and accused of bilking millions from investors in an asbestos mine he had acquired and asset stripped on behalf
of ZANU associates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Marange Diamonds Chronology

 

Early 1990s

De Beers secures an Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO) for parts of Marange; undertakes preliminary samples but

determines claim is neither viable nor in line with company practice to avoid alluvial deposits.

March 2006

African Consolidated Resources (ACR) files claim based on lapsed De Beer’s EPO.

June 2006

Government encourages ordinary Zimbabweans to mine in Marange; thousands descend.

October 2006

ACR evicted from land; Minister of Mines Amos Midzi awards mining and exploration rights to Zimbabwe Mineral

Development Corporation (ZMDC); police and military step in to quell illegal mining and smuggling, with little success.

October-November 2008

Government launches Operation Hakudzowki (No Return), resulting in serious human rights abuses, including the deaths

of over 200 illegal miners, massacred by ground troops and helicopter gunships.

February 2009

Obert Mpofu appointed Minister of Mines.

June-July 2009

Kimberley Process undertakes fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. Hears evidence of serious human rights abuses in 2008

and 2009. Concludes Zimbabwe is non-compliant with minimum requirements, including widespread smuggling and

direct involvement of military in mining.

November 2009

KP meets in Swakopmund, Namibia, imposes export embargo on Marange diamonds until noticeable improvements

made. Government of Zimbabwe agrees to a Joint Work Plan (JWP), a roadmap to bring the country back into KP

compliance.

June 2010

PAC issues a second report on Zimbabwe at KP meeting in Tel Aviv that finds evidence of ongoing human rights abuses

and smuggling. KP maintains embargo on Marange diamonds.

July 2010

KP and Government of Zimbabwe negotiate “St Petersburg Agreement”, after a meeting in the Russian city. Deal allows

for two exports in return for further improvement.

November 2010

Government of Zimbabwe demands KP lift embargo, declaring Marange operations “compliant”. Canadile implodes

amidst corruption charges. KP meeting in Jerusalem ends in deadlock over lack of progress by Zimbabwe to meet terms

of JWP.

March 2011

KP Chair, the Democratic Republic of Congo, erroneously green-lights Marange shipments, despite lack of consensus

among KP members. Only South Africa accepts his interpretation; all other trading centres maintain import ban.

June 2011

Civil Society groups—one of the three pillars of the KP—walk out of KP meeting in Kinshasa in protest to disinterest by

participant countries and industry to address continuing concerns about smuggling and rights violations.

November 2011

KP Plenary held in Kinshasa. For first time in 10-year history of KP, Civil Society stays away. Meeting concludes with lifting

of export restrictions on Mbada and Canadile, now operating as Marange Resources. Subsequent companies to be

granted exports dependent on positive approval of KP Monitor.

January 2012

Chinese company Anjin granted right to export.

February 2012

Diamond Mining Company (DMC), a Dubai-based company, wins right to export.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drought: the curse of Matabeleland

By Nqobile Bhebhe Senior Reporter

FARMERS in drought-prone Matabeleland South continue to watch helplessly as their prime investment – livestock – is slowly decimated by successive droughts.

The region has been hit by another cycle of acute shortage of pastures and water.

The lack of pastures has been blamed on the raging drought due to poor rains recorded in the last rainy season.

Districts in Matabeleland South which have been worst affected are Gwanda, Kezi, Mangwe and Bulilima.

“We witnessed a heartbreaking, systematic decimation of our decades of investment as we watched haplessly our cattle dying,” says Councillor Alexander Phiri of Makasa ward in Matopo South.

Matabeleland South is traditionally the backbone of the country’s cattle herd, but consecutive droughts have drastically reduced the herd to alarming levels, putting a strain on villagers.

Phiri says the tipping point was reached  six months ago as they watched in shock hundreds of cattle, their main source of livelihood and wealth, dying  on a daily basis.

As cattle were dying, many gave up any hope of relief, either from government or traditional sources  – the non-governmental organisations – coming by.

“On a daily basis, I would get reports that at such a homestead about three or four cattle have succumbed to drought,” said Phiri. “It was heartbreaking.”

On Monday, our news crew spotted several fresh carcasses.

Phiri said livestock were being moved distances of between 10 and 15km to areas where pasture was still available and water points as many water sources had dried up. Villagers were also put under strain from ‘flight by night cattle traders’ who pestered them to give away their remaining herd at below market rates.

“Those were difficult periods for villagers,” said Phiri. “Smartly dressed men would come in flashy car promising us instant cash for our livestock. Most villagers succumbed to that pressure and eventually sold for as little as $90 each yet the true value is around $500 for healthy beasts.”

Other villagers opted to trade their cattle for solar panels and motorcycles for fear of losing out.

Villagers also complained that some unscrupulous farm owners were cashing in on the drought situation by demanding a beast for every 10 cattle in exchange for pastures.

Some farm owners have in the past been fighting running battles with villagers over cattle that stray into their farms in search of pastures. However, during his interaction with stakeholders in Bulawayo last week during a 2013 National Budget consultative meeting, Finance minister Tendai  Biti said government has allocated $10 million to the drought-stricken province in a bid to avert more livestock death.

The Exchequer said the funds were for procurement of stock feed, drilling of boreholes and restocking. To date $3 million has been disbursed, he said. According to statistics from the Department of Livestock Production and Development (DLPD), the country has an estimated population of 5,2 million cattle of which 398 200 are in Matabeleland South, meaning that the province contributes about 7, 8 percent to the national herd.

Early in October some form of relief stockfeed started trickling in but at a cost to villagers who are struggling with cash.

A 50 kilogramme of stockfeed is sold at veterinary stations for $11, an amount villagers say is too high under the circumstances.

Alois Ncube, a villager in Maphisa, said although the stockfeed came a bit late, it would save the remaining livestock.

Provincial governor Angeline Masuku says stock feed distribution programme had seen  over 1 000 bales of grass delivered to Gwanda and Beitbridge districts.

She said a bale was being sold for $2 and stockfeed $11 per kilogramme. Farmers in Mangwe district have teamed up and formed community livestock feedlots in a project designed to be the blueprint for survival of livestock in the drought-prone province.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy minister Seiso Moyo said although the stockfeed could be viewed as being late, from the government side it was timely.

“We are aware that farmers have been saying the intervention from government has been late, but we are of the opinion that it was timely in the sense that it is at this period that cattle tend to die more,” he said.

Moyo said the programme wasset to run throughout the rainy season till pastures levels picked up.

NB—THE STORY FIRST APPEARED IN NEWSDAY ON NOVEMBER 3, 2012

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Home / News / MDC STAYS OUT OF COPAC OPENING CEREMONY. MDC STAYS OUT OF COPAC OPENING CEREMONY.

he MDC today stayed out of the Second All Stakeholders opening ceremony to protest the inclusion of Arthur Mutambara on the list of speakers. Robert Mugabe had insisted on the inclusion of Arthur Mutambara on the program in violation of the earlier agreement by the three parties that he won’t be included. The ceremony was held at the Harare International Conference Centre today. Arthur Mutambara was scheduled to deliver a vote of thanks to the delegates after three other political leaders had spoken, namely MDC President Welshman Nucbe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe.

Earlier before staying away from the ceremony, MDC had indicated that the party will not partake in any activity that is against the Maputo SADC declaration that says that only President Welshman Ncube, Morgan Tsvangirayi and Robert Mugabe are recognized as principals in the Government of National Unity and only the three must partake on meetings that have to do with the constitution making process.  

Speaking to the journalist at the press conference President Ncube said that the party had taken such a position because it has become tired of the deceit and the dishonest of the other partners in the GNU. He accused Mugabe and Tsvangirai of refusal to implement the SADC Maputo declaration after the two continue to meet with Mutambara on their Monday meetings discussing political matters and thereafter tasking Mutambara to oversee their implementation. He cited the recent incident where Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara met and agreed to set up a cabinet committee to oversee the implementation of the Maputo resolution to be chaired by Mutambara where all political parties where supposed to forward one cabinet minister a deal which the MDC vehemently refused to participate in.

President Ncube said, ‘we are extremely tired of deceit and dishonesty of Mugabe specifically and Tsvangirai in generally in the implementation of the SADC Maputo resolution. It is clear to us that Mugabe’s strategy is to paralyze the GNU. He is happy with the dual arrangement of his party and the MDC-T with a third person who is accountable to no party and no one. Mugabe still wants to foist the face on Mutambara on us because he imagines that he has the power to do that, we say no power on earth can push us to agree to that, not at all.”

President Ncube however said that MDC was aware of the Zanu pf’s strategy to collapse Copac and this is one such strategy. In light of that, the party has resolved to rejoin the second all stakeholders’ conference on the thematic deliberations and deny Zanu pf space to manipulate the constitution making process. He went on to say that theyhad informed the SADC facilitation team that ws present to observe the ceremony of their protest and will also formally write to the SADC Troika Chairmen Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete  on the continued violation of the SADC-Maputo resolution.

“We are aware of the Zanu pf strategy to collapse the constitution making process, recently we have seen a concerted effort towards that direction which you have written about in the media, in light of that we won’t allow ourselves to be blamed for stopping this stage so our delegates will be part of the thematic stages, that will commence this afternoon. We also did register our protest to the SADC facilitation committee that was here to observe the process. We will also be writing to the SADC troika chairmen about this”, he said.

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo… a Big Flush top candidate

The much talked about Big Flush in Bulawayo should just but start on the door steps of Water Resources Management and Development ministry headed by Samuel Sipepa Nkomo of MDC-T formation.
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo , a likable fellow whose appointment to head Water Resources Management and Development ministry caused a stir back in February 2009 is an extremely lucky chap who is taking thousands of Bulawayo residents for granted.
In the past two months, Nkomo has been making headlines on the perennial water crisis in Bulawayo.
Bulawayo City Council, which is led by his fellow MDC-T members, has been issuing grim statements on water situation for the city.
The local authority repeatedly warned that come September, strict water rationing regime would be enforced so as to conserve the little available water in the remaining supply dams.
Two of the five supply dams — Upper Ncema and Umzingwane — have been decommissioned.
Lower Ncema and Inyankuni are likely to follow before the end of the year leaving Insiza Dam as the city’s only supply dam.
On would have thought that Nkomo fully understood the gravity of the situation.
But surprising, the whole minister has been flip flopping on the crisis.
Nkomo has been resisting to act on popular sentiments on declaring the city a disaster area saying it was too early to call the city a critical water shortage area.
Addressing councillors and stakeholders in the city, Nkomo said while government is aware of the water situation in the city, he noted that there are some parts of the country that are in dire situations and have resorted to reclaimed water.
“If any minister must declare a crisis, it follows a process. You don’t alone wake up one morning and you have declared a crisis, you need to carry along Cabinet colleagues so that it can receive the importance (it deserves),” he said.
He added, “I have heard people saying we need to declare Bulawayo a national disaster and yes I’ve got a document of some NGOs that are advocating that I must declare Bulawayo a national disaster. I take into account as well that I have other cities and sometimes you might think you are the worst, there are other where the situation is also as dire as you are.”
Surely, what is Nkomo, a legislator in Lobengula scared off to declare or at least recommend to cabinet that the city be certified a disaster zone?
Is Nkomo ecstatic to watch residents from his own constituency contracting water borne diseases, people dying of thirst and factories retrenching people?
Again, Nkomo on the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline that is largely viewed as the short term solution to Bulawayo’s water problems has been found wanting.
Several completion deadlines which he announced have been missed and December is now the next projected time.
His political rivals have been saying MDC-T failing to stick to one position long enough for the electorate to identify with its policies. I now fully agree.
A brief detour would do here.
In a bid to stretch supplies to the next rainy season, Bulawayo city fathers introduced a 48-hour weekly water shedding schedule for all suburbs on 27 July.
But the schedule is hardly followed as some areas go for a full week without a drop.
A week ago, residents woke up to news of the much talked about Big Flush whereby residents are required to flush toilets simultaneously to avoid blockage in the sewer system, during the water shedding period.
In a statement, the city’s senior public relations officer, Nesisa Mpofu, said the synchronised flushing would also help to reduce pipe bursts and sewer overflows.
“Every household is requested to flush their toilets systematically at 7.30pm, the very day when water is back after the 72 hours of water shedding.
This is done to prevent any sewer blockages as we anticipate longer periods without water in the reticulation system. Please note that this is in addition to the normal flushing that will occur during the day,” said Mpofu.
To this i say, the Big Flush prime candidate should be Nkomo.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment