By Daniel Chigundu
Mabvuku-Tafara legislator James Maridadi says Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu must first go through due process on the missing US$15 billion diamond revenue before he can be allowed to hold a cabinet post.
Former President Robert Mugabe revealed that Zimbabwe had lost about US$15 billion due to illicit deals in the diamond mining sector.
The alleged illicit deals occurred during the time when Mpofu was in charge of the mines portfolio but there was no explanation as to what could have really happened.
Speaking in the National Assembly during a debate on the proposed 2018 Finance Bill, Honourable Maridadi said President Emmerson Mnangagwa cannot continue to work with Minister Mpofu until he has cleared his name.
“When we are in this Parliament, we have not come here to make friends, Hon. Minister of Finance, Madam Speaker. If in the process of debating in order to placate our country from the economic problems that it has, if it means in the process we must loose friends, for me, so be it.
“I am addressing this in particular, to His Excellency, the President and I am saying this, Your Excellency, in your Cabinet, when you have a man like Hon. Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Home Affairs, you have a problem.
“There is a problem of US$15 billion dollars that this country must deal with. We were told by the former President and I do not think he was wrong. The former President said, US$15 billion dollars either in money or in diamonds disappeared. The person who was in charge of mines then was Hon. Obert Mpofu.
“Madam Speaker, the President cannot continue to be seen working with Hon. Obert Mpofu who is now the Minister of Home Affairs if he has not gone through due process which clears him of that corruption. I think what must happen and there will be no sacred cows, that is what the President said and I am taking a leaf from what the President has said,” he said.
Maridadi added that he was not saying the minister is guilty of the wrong deed but that he must be subjected to due processes to clear them.
The former disc-jockey said when people choose public office they have agreed to subject themselves to scrutiny and that people will indeed scrutinise them.
“…People will put you on the slaughter table, people will slaughter you, dissect you and scrutinise you. This is exactly what we are doing to our Ministers; we are putting them on a slaughter table, we are dissecting them. We are saying your Excellency, Mr President; this is what we think about your people. Subject them to due process and when they are cleared by due processes, only then can they be re-appointed.
The MDC-T legislator said if people like former Minister Ignatius Chombo and others are being arrested for corruption, then Minister Mpofu should at least be quizzed over the missing diamonds.
“…Mr Walter Mzembi was arrested for donating four televisions and then you have another Minister who has been arrested for being seen in possession of some packets of beans, some packets of rappoko, how about a man who was in charge of the Ministry of Mines when US$15 billion dollars disappeared.
“At least he must give a statement to the police at the very least. He must be able to walk into a police station and give a statement,” he said.
Meanwhile, Parliament has since asked the new Mines Minister Winston Chitando to give a ministerial statement on the alleged looted US$15billion.
By Daniel Chigundu