Zanu PF Politburo member and Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu is demanding $1 million in damages from MDC chairman Goodrich Chimbaira for alleged defamatory remarks referring to the minister as President Robert Mugabe’s “son” and that his wealth was ill-gotten.
The remarks are alleged to have been made by Chimbaira at a rally and reported in NewsDay last Saturday under the headline Mpofu under fire over wealth.
In the story, Chimbaira was quoted as saying the minister sold out the people of Matabeleland by dumping the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo at the height of Gukurahundi.
Chimbaira also claimed Mpofu’s wealth was obtained through political patronage to Mugabe.
Mpofu, through his lawyer Sindiso Mazibisa of Cheda and Partners, wrote to Chimbaira with the intention to sue and demanded him to cause a retraction of the remarks and to apologise in the newspaper.
“We are lawyers for Dr Obert Moses Mpofu. We have been referred to an article published by NewsDay on 25th February under the heading ‘Mpofu under fire over wealth’.
“In the article you are alleged to have addressed a rally in Nkayi on Thursday 23rd February 2012 and made the following remarks: ‘our client is a sellout to the people of Matabeleland, our client sold out Joshua Nkomo during Gukurahundi and that our client‘s wealth is ill-gotten, it is through political patronage to President Robert Mugabe’,” wrote Mazibisa.
“Our client’s fatherhood is questionable? In your own words, you ask if our client does not know whose child he is. Or rather does our client, as grown-up as he is, not know his father?
Mazibisa said Mpofu found the statement not only in bad taste but felt it had an effect of hurting his dignity, reputation and his standing in the eyes of the public.
Addressing guests at his birthday and graduation bash in Nyamandlovu last month, Mpofu said he accumulated his wealth through applying for loans from banks.
He has also defended his signing-off of letters to Mugabe as “your ever obedient son”, saying it was out of respect.
Mpofu last year said he was probably one of the richest people from Matabeleland because he was an astute businessman.