via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Mpofu could be in trouble with Mugabe by Matthews Estell 12 March 2014
Former Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu is under spotlight from after saying on Monday that he was not aware of the existence of the Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust launched by President Robert Mugabe in 2012.
Five diamond mining companies operating in the area pledged to contribute US$10 million each to the Trust but the companies have since denied making the pledge.
Some Zanu PF insiders said Mpofu might be in trouble with Mugabe for his apparent siding with the diamond mining companies in humiliating the head of state.
“Mpofu cannot claim he is not aware of the Trust yet he was minister responsible for mines. It appears he has joined hands in embarrassing the president,” a Zanu PF source said.
Mpofu was adamant when contacted by the state media on the issue.
“Talk to the miners (diamond companies). I am Minister of Transport (and Infrastructural Development). Why don’t you talk to the minister of Mines (and Mining Development?)
“These are official issues. Miners have already spoken, so what else do you want?” he was quoted saying.
The state media reported that although Mpofu’s response suggested that he was in agreement with the mining companies in Marange, he participated at the launch of several CSOTs launched by the President.
It was further reported that Mpofu attended the launch the Chegutu, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba Community trusts in 2011 where he said the mining sector had failed to transform into meaningful direct benefits to communities.
At the launch of seven community share ownership trusts in Hwange by Mugabe in October 2012, the state media reported, Mpofu said chiefs from Matabeleland North, especially in Victoria Falls, had approached him to express concerns over the destruction of crops and human lives by elephants and lions in their areas.