Reports that Zanu PF secretary for finance Obert Mpofu has ordered a forensic audit of the party’s finances just over a year following his appointment to that position, made interesting reading.
It is a noble call, but Zimbabweans would want him to go even further. Now holding one of the most influential positions in the ruling party’s politburo, Mpofu seems to have been rewarded not only for his loyalty, but rather for messing up what would have been the greatest resource this country would discover.
Mpofu presided over the country’s mining sector at a time when diamonds were discovered in Manicaland, but over a decade on, the country has nothing to show for what was described as one-quarter of the world’s gems.
The Cabinet minister has always been associated with dodgy deals and it would do his personality a world of good if he were to push for a forensic audit of how the money from the country’s diamonds was spent and how they were carted away to foreign lands for the benefit of a “cabal of quislings” in the ruling Zanu PF. Instead of seeking to present himself as the tonic to Zanu PF’s financial problems, as a minister of government Mpofu should come clean and call for an audit of not only his conduct, but all the transactions he presided over as Mines and Mining Development minister.
It would be a good starting point for a government-wide forensic audit of President Robert Mugabe’s administration that now claims to be in the red when just a few years ago he was declaring we would not need anyone’s assistance because of the diamonds.
Where did the money go, Cde Mpofu? Where are the Marange diamonds? Who took them? Where, Cde Mpofu?
There are so many investigations or inquiries that have been commissioned by Mugabe since 1980, including the Willowgate scandal where Mpofu also played a crucial role in lifting the lid, but nothing has happened to the culprits.
Does it mean that Mpofu, who has now been relegated to the obscure Macro-Economic ministry, has Mugabe’s blessings to cause a forensic audit whose findings would result in some action?
True, Zanu PF needs cleansing, not only financially, but the whole institution is the epitome of what is wrong with Zimbabwe. A forensic audit of one Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who has squandered almost $300 000 in an upmarket hotel stay, after refusing a house because “it does not suit a man of his stature or position”, is urgent.
A lifestyle-audit of some ministers owning 43 upmarket houses in Harare alone and elsewhere in the countryside is imperative.
Mpofu has shown us the way, but more needs to be done. Let us go all the way. It does not make any sense to try and resuscitate Zanu PF companies when the economy cannot sustain government workers.
Mugabe’s government, of which Mpofu is a key figure, cannot pay workers’ salaries and that in itself is an indictment on the likes of Mpofu who now wants to present himself as “Mr Clean” in order to create a foundation likely for an assault on the open fight for the ruling party’s presidency.
Better still, Mpofu must impress upon his counterparts in Zanu PF and government to implement Cabinet recommendations for a forensic audit of all parastatals and quasi-government institutions following the explosion of the Salary-gate scandal.
Actually, Zimbabwe needs to be forensically audited as a starting point, including personnel audit to rid the government of ghost workers some of whom Mpofu seconded or is benefiting from as of now.
Double-speak or piecemeal audits will not work, Cde Mpofu. It is akin to applying lipstick on a frog. Nothing will change. Government must walk the talk.