Thursday, 19 March 2015

Obert Mpofu who is adding 30 more tollgates has collapsed.

TRANSPORT (and Tollgates) Minister Obert Mpofu's short flirtation with the country's media industry has come to an abrupt end.
Obert Mpofu who is adding 30 more tollgates has collapsed.
Insiders late Tuesday confirmed that Wednesday's edition of the Zimbabwe Mail would be the last for the paper which hit the streets as a daily in late 2013 before transforming into a weekly in its last four editions beginning last month.

"We have been officially informed by the editor Constantine Chimakure that the paper will publish for the last time tomorrow (Wednesday). There has not been any communication as regards terminal benefits. We wait to be addressed on these issues," a staffer said late Tuesday.

Members of staff were put on half salaries in September even as the minister was reportedly donating $70,000 to Zanu PF party's congress in December.

The Mail, whose wage bill was said to be $30,000, failed to pay the half salaries for February although Mpofu still managed to donate $40,000 to President Robert Mugabe's birthday party.

Mpofu has reportedly complained that he was not getting any return on his investment in the publication, a problem he presumably does not suffer with his financial "investments" in Zanu PF and its leader.

The 'tollgates minister' infuriated millions of Zimbabweans last week when he revealed that he was in the process of constructing 10 more tollgates in Zimbabwe at the moment and would make sure that before the end of the year the country would be 'infested' with 30 extra tollgates. Currently Zimbabwe has 24 tollgates across the country and Mpofu whose own newspaper has finally closed after failing to pay workers and whose security company has also been reported to have been failing to pay its workers and whose bank also collapsed a couple of months ago must be one such a businessman and minister who truly knows how bad economic conditions are in Zimbabwe. A minister whose three companies reportedly collapse in one year due to unbearable economic situation should be the last person to add more tollgates in a country where the general populace is struggling to put food on the table.

Before Mpofu was minister of transport, Nicholas Goche was in charge and he never thought of increasing the number of tollgates. He was the minister of transport for 4 years, from 2009 to 2013. When Obert Mpofu became the transport minister, the first thing he did was to increase tollgate fees from $1 to $2 for private cars. The second thing was to add two extra tollgates (in Goromonzi and in Kwekwe). Now he is adding 30 more tollgates before the end of this year.

Obert Mpofu's paper will be remembered for breaking the Salary-gate scandal weeks after its appearance. It will also be remembered for breaking Prophet Magaya's alleged love and murder scandal involving a former PHD Ministries chief usher Chipo.

Obert Mpofu who is adding 30 more tollgates has collapsed.
However, the publication's association with Mpofu, a controversial figure who is the subject of corruption allegations over his "unexplained” wealth, would prove to be its main undoing.

Advertisers kept well away, with support only coming from parastatals associated with Mpofu's ministry which never paid for the advertisements anyway.

A reporter with the paper said; "At one charged meeting with reporters last year the minister was told in no uncertain terms that his name had not made things easy for the paper in the market.

"He was told that his name is soiled but he defended himself and claimed he is a brand adding this has helped his tourism business grow in Victoria Falls".

Mpofu has been linked to a host shady deals, and is accused of looting the country's contentious Marange diamonds although he has denied the charges.

But its establishment was linked to the bitter factional fights in the ruling Zanu PF as Mpofu, reportedly an Indian-trained journalist in his own right, targeted a senior party position ahead of the December congress.
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