Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu on Wednesday took his praise-singing and bootlicking of President Robert Mugabe a notch up after he described the 87-year-old Zanu PF leader as his “father”.
A leaked letter last year showed that Mpofu signed off his correspondence with Mugabe as “your ever obedient son” and his critics said it was part of Zanu PF’s patronage system.
The Zanu PF politburo member and MP for Umguza told journalists in Harare that he had no apologies to make.
“President Mugabe is my father, he is my father and the signing off as ‘your ever obedient son’ was not a mistake.
“When I go to see him I refer to him as baba (father),” Mpofu said amid laughter from journalists.
“I don’t drink (alcohol) and any decision I take is sober. I do things knowing they are good. I regard President Mugabe as my father,” he said.
Mpofu (60) said he also referred to his seniors and bosses as his fathers, but did not do the same with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (59) because they were of the same age group.
Incidentally, Mpofu is the only Zanu PF MP in the Matabeleland region who has so far endorsed President Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate in elections likely to be held next year.
Several Zanu PF senior officials have also gone overboard in praise-singing President Mugabe.
The late Deputy Minister of Local Government Tony Gara once described the veteran ruler as “God’s other son”.
At the launch of the Mhondoro-Ngezi community share ownership scheme last month, Mashonaland West governor Faber Chidarikire said of President Mugabe: “You are our Biblical Moses.”
Not to be outdone, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere went a notch higher, likening President Mugabe to God’s “Angel Gabriel”.
Earlier this year, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu and party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said the President was feared the world over because of his intelligence and was like Cremora (a popular milk brand). Meanwhile, Mpofu defended his wealth, saying he was a businessman way before he became a Cabinet minister.
“They say I am wealthy, but I have never been poor,” he said.
“I have been in business for some time. You are making me more important. I have a tall building (York House in Bulawayo) as reported, which I bought a long time ago and I will not even apologise for that.”
Last year there were reports that Mpofu had gone on a property buying spree in Matabeleland. He allegedly bought houses in Victoria Falls for cash and his critics claimed the money was obtained from the sale of diamonds.
“I have bought houses, yes, and I bought a borehole drilling machine, but that’s business and I am going to do more,” Mpofu said.
“The fact that I am Minister of Mines doesn’t stop me from business. I am the largest rancher maybe in the whole country. I want to know who has more cattle than me. Since 1993, I have done more.
“Maybe people are not used to having people from that side (Matabeleland) being successful in business.The whole world knows Mpofu and what he has done.
It’s only in Zimbabwe where I am not taken seriously. It’s not a crime to own property in Zimbabwe. I have what I have and I am proud and will do more.”
Mpofu also denounced political violence, saying he would resign if he were to win an election where people were maimed in his constituency.