MINES minister Obert Mpofu is among people who made an impact in their countries in 2012, according to the latest edition of Africa Report.
The December 2012 to January 2013 issue carried out country profiles for Africa and came up with a list of “people to watch in 2013” considering the impact they made in their countries in 2012.
In Southern Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, Mpofu — who is described as a “diamond-studded banker” by the magazine — is said to have earned reputation of a strong mediator and crafty politician.
“After successfully campaigning for Zimbabwe to be allowed to sell diamonds, Mines minister Mpofu earned reputation as a tough negotiator and sly politician,” noted the publication.
The magazine further claims that Mpofu won the heart of President Robert Mugabe through “patriotism” and “patronage” and his unflinching support for the ageing leader.
“Riding a wave of patriotism and patronage he has warmed himself into Mugabe’s heart, signing off a letter to the veteran ruler, ‘Your ever obedient son’.”
The magazine further noted that Mpofu was eyeing high office amid claims that he was strategising to succeed ailing Vice-President John Nkomo.
The media last year was awash with allegations that Mpofu was using his wealth to buy votes at his campaign rallies.
Mpofu has a vast business empire in real estate, safari operations and the financial sector.
However, his critics have questioned the source of his wealth, with many suggesting that he is looting proceeds from diamond sales, assertions the minister has dismissed as baseless.
Mpofu argues that he was in business way before his appointment as Mines minister.