New Zimbabwe (London)

4 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Mpofu Adds MPs' Car to His Ministerial Fleet

TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu has revealed that he benefited from the government sponsored US$11 million car scheme for the country's legislators.

He is an MP and, therefore, entitled.

But as a cabinet minister he also has a fleet of at least three State-provided luxury cars at his disposal.

THE government admits to serious cash struggles but that did not stop the Zanu PF administration from splashing a reported $20 million early this year on comfy and pricy new wheels for ministers.

Under the scheme, 26 cabinet ministers, 13 ministers of state and 24 deputies were handed Mercedes Benz E350, Toyota Land Cruisers VX200 and SUVs.

Legislators were also handed top-of-the-range Ford Ranger vehicles.

'Self-sacrificing' Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa of Zanu PF refused to take the offer up, arguing the $11 million could be put to better use developing poor constituencies.

Legislators already had vehicles anyway and did not, absolutely, need new cars, Mliswa said.

"We have not yet received the Constituency Development Fund and this should have been an opportunity for us to be given an option of helping our constituencies with that money," he said.

"We should have had options instead of a car. I would have liked to use my money to renovate a school or a clinic in my constituency. In fact, why should MPs with cars be offered cars? Why should cattle without ticks be taken to a dip tank?"

However, none of that altruistic posturing could dissuade the country's transport minister Obert Mpofu.

Despite being entitled to at least three luxury cars as part of his ministerial fleet, Mpofu has admitted benefiting from the scheme for MPs.

He confirmed the latest addition to his garage when gratuitously revealing that at least six MPs had already wrecked their vehicles just a few weeks after they were delivered.

"I was registering insurance for my vehicle for Parliament in Harare," Mpofu said this week.

"The insurance company told me that already more than six members have been involved in accidents with the vehicles after collection.

"A vehicle belonging to one Member of Parliament from Lupane overturned and rolled several times near Insuza when she was from collecting it from the showroom."

Mliswa, probably, can afford to refuse a government vehicle. He is a business consultant whose expertise does not come cheap.

The Zanu PF legislator was in the news this year over reports he demanded $165 million in facilitation and consultancy fees from local tycoon Conrad "Billy" Rautenbach.

Mliswa claimed to have helped Billy set up his ethanol company whose product now forms at least 10 percent of the blended petrol used in the country.

But Mpofu is not in desperate want either.

The minister owns a commercial bank as well as a vast property portfolio said to include a significant chunk of Victoria Falls and huge sections of Bulawayo.

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