Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
PART of the 300 head of cattle donated by President Mugabe to the African Union (AU) have been converted to cash through an auction as part of efforts to ensure the continental body becomes self-sufficient. During his chairmanship of AU in 2015, the President pushed for self-financing so that 75 percent of locally mobilised resources go towards running AU programmes, while 25 percent would be channelled towards peacekeeping operations. This came on the back of revelations that over 60 percent of the AU budget was donor-driven, a development that saw Western donors influence AU programmes and trajectory, for example the union’s budget for 2014 totalled $278 million of which 44 percent came from member-states, while the remainder came from development partners.
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Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and officials from the African Union Foundation witnessed the first auction of the cattle in Harare.
zanu-pf Central Committee member Cde Jimayi Muduvuri, who coordinated the mobilisation of the cattle, was also in attendance together with Provincial Affairs Ministers for Harare and Mashonaland West provinces Cdes Miriam Chikukwa and Faber Chidarikire, respectively.
Though official figures of the sale could not be established from the 100-plus cattle that were sold, most of the beasts were ranging around $800.
Speaking to journalists after the auction, Minister Mumbengegwi said the donation was a major contribution towards realisation of self-financing by the AU.
“This is an important contribution to the self-financing of the African Union Foundation. These efforts are going to continue. It is a significant gesture on the part of the President to indicate what can be done for our own organisations in order to finance them. You don’t have to have ready cash. He pledged to donate cattle and that has been done and that herd of cattle is now being converted into cash. On the part of Zimbabwe we will continue to make our contribution as and when we are able to do so,” he said.
“This is our organisation. It is going to continue to need resources and therefore the membership including Zimbabwe are going to continue to contribute to their ability. On Thursday there will be another auction in Gweru and by the end of the month we should be done and during the AU Summit in July we expect His Excellency President Mugabe to officially hand over the cheque of the amount that would have been realised from the sale of the cattle he pledged during his chairmanship of the AU.”
He said President Mugabe was a strong proponent of self-financing of organisations to Zimbabwe was a signatory particularly the AU.
“It was during his chairmanship of the Union that timeframes was set for self-financing as an organisation that within the next five years the African Union must finance 100 percent of its operations at least 75 percent of its programmes and at least 25 percent of its peacekeeping operations and this is being implemented,” said Minister Mumbengegwi.
“In this respect, during his chairmanship of the AU, the first fundraising function which was held by the African Union Foundation was held in Johannesburg and it was during that function that President Mugabe pledged to donate 300 herd of cattle. What you have just witnessed is part of the process of realising that 300 herd of cattle.”
African Union Foundation chief operating officer Mr Dumisani Mngadi said: “As the African Union Foundation we are thrilled by the support we have received from the people of Zimbabwe, from the President and also the realisation of this gesture that the President made which was like a unique gesture to say as Africans we give what we have. For us it’s a call for all other African leaders, business people, people wherever you are to be able to contribute to the development of our African people because the African Union Foundation works on areas of young people, the youth programmes that we support. We work on African issues of women we also focus on making sure that the African private sector gets to participate in the affairs of the African Union because ultimately the vision of the African union Agenda 2063 is a vision that is shared by all Africans.”
Cde Muduvuri said he was happy with the programme had progressed.
He hailed President Mugabe for keeping his word and encouraged other African leaders to emulate his gesture.
“I am happy with this type of auction today,” he said. “I was not expecting this huge turnout from our buyers. This will send a very good message to other African presidents that President Mugabe has made this donation to the AU and they will also do something. Tomorrow we are going to Gweru and do another auction and all the proceeds will go to the African Union to fulfill the promise made by our President.”