Home » General » Mpofu Fails to Pay His Reporters February Wages, but Gave Mugabe U.S.$40,000

TRANSPORT minister Obert Mpofu has failed to pay staff at his Zimbabwe Mail newspaper despite donating $40,000 to President Robert Mugabe’s birthday party last month.

Mpofu also donated $70,000 to Zanu PF’s congress in December despite paying staff at the newspaper half salaries from September 2014.

The minister, once described as one of the richest members of President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet, is now said to be frantically watching his purse with a bank he owned having collapsed in January.

Efforts to get a comment from Mpofu and the publication’s editor Constantine Chimakure were unsuccessful.

But reporters who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com said they have yet to be paid their February salaries. The company’s monthly wage bill is said to be around $30,000.

The newspaper, which hit the streets in late 2013, is understood to be on the verge of collapse with Mpofu said to be now refusing to take calls from staff.

The publication was turned from a daily into a weekly about three weeks ago “to cut expenses”.

Journalists canvassed by NewZimbabwe.com claimed Mpofu has indicated he has “put enough money with no return” without elaborating.

“A few of the staffers here, including the paper’s editor, have tried to call Mpofu… He has been paying half salaries since September last year but has failed to pay even that half for the month of February,” said one reporter.

The paper’s demise is reported to have been speeded up by a family feud pitting Mpofu on one side and his wife and children on the other.

“His children are fighting tooth and nail alongside their mother to have the paper closed because they think it is eating into family savings without a return,” said another journalist who asked not to be named.

“The wife was reportedly infuriated by Mpofu’s ill-conceived appointment of his ex-girlfriend identified as a Ms Moyo as chief executive at the very beginning before she was replaced by his daughter Nomsa.

“Nomsa is as much in the dark as everyone else – at least that is what she claims – but it is a fact she does not want the paper to survive and has tried to persuade Mpofu to shut it down.”

According to insiders last week there was a plan to get rid of half the editorial staff “with a list already in place but Mpofu seemed to have chickened out at the eleventh hour for as yet unknown reasons”.

Staff are concerned that Mpofu has not sought to bring in other investors “as the paper is clearly struggling financially and it is now a matter of time before everything grinds to a halt.

“The accounts department has no money they said they do not have enough to cover the expenses to produce next week’s edition.

“They have failed to collect money from aertisers who owe around $100,000 with the majority of this in struggling parastatals connected with Mpofu’s Transport ministry.”

Source : New Zimbabwe