President hands over 300 head of cattle to AU

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (left) hands over 300 head of cattle to African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Mr Erastus Mwencha. The beasts, which were handed over at Vhuka Farm in Karoi yesterday, were donated by President Mugabe to fulfil a pledge he made to help the AU fund its budget.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (left) hands over 300 head of cattle to African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Mr Erastus Mwencha. The beasts, which were handed over at Vhuka Farm in Karoi yesterday, were donated by President Mugabe to fulfil a pledge he made to help the AU fund its budget.

Walter Nyamukondiwa in KAROI
African Union Commission deputy chairperson Mr Erastus Mwencha yesterday received 300 head of cattle donated by President Mugabe to the African Union Foundation at a colourful ceremony held in Karoi.

Speaking at the handover of the cattle comprising heifers, steers and cows at the vast Vhuka Farm, Mr Mwencha said the donation by President Mugabe was symbolic of the African heritage.

“I am happy to receive the 300 head of cattle on behalf of the African Union in fulfilment of the pledge made by President Mugabe to the AU Foundation,” said Mr Mwencha.

“The donation of cattle is symbolic of the African heritage to Africa and to the world. Cattle hold a special place in our lives as Africans.”

President Mugabe made the pledge in June last year when he was AU and Sadc chairman in a symbolic gesture to encourage Africa to look inward for solutions as external help often comes with strings attached.

He said the choice of cattle as a donation to the AU Foundation showed that President Mugabe was well grounded in the understanding of the continent’s values and dynamics.

The donation dovetails with the trajectory he set as AU chairman, he said.

“The donation is symbolic and shows that President Mugabe appreciates that Africa is predominantly agriculture based with over 70 percent of its people sustained by it,” he said.

President Mugabe, he said had set Africa on the trajectory of self-reliance and the donation had to be understood in that context.

Mr Mwencha said the donation would go a long way in capacitating the foundation in its quest to address some of the myriad challenges Africa was facing.

The foundation, he said worked with other partners to fight the Ebola outbreak, which hit West Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the central region.

The most affected countries were Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone where over 11 000 people succumbed to the deadly virus since the first outbreak in 2014.

With the Ebola virus conquered, Mr Mwencha said the Foundation had to support the development of education and setting up of robust health systems on the continent among other commitments.

The AU Foundation was mooted by African Heads of State and Government to collaborate with the private sector, philanthropists, individuals and the Diaspora to mobilise donations and voluntary contributions to fund Africa’s development priorities in line with Agenda 2063.

Some of the Foundation’s goals include promoting the development of skills and Africa’s human capital, women empowerment and gender equality, youth development and entrepreneurship, advocacy and support for the AU.

Turning to the cattle, Mr Mwencha said he was overwhelmed by the good state of the head of cattle posing a dilemma on whether to auction the cattle or nurture them so that they would multiply.

“The cattle are in such a beautiful state that it pains to even think of auctioning them. So we are reflecting on the possibility of nurturing them so that they multiply,” said the AU Commission deputy chairman.

Foreign Affairs minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi who handed over the cattle, said the head of cattle was in excellent condition.

Mashonaland West minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire, said it was an honour for the province to look after them.

“This is a momentous occasion for us as a province to play host to an event that further illustrates that President Mugabe is a visionary leader who fulfils his promises,” said Cde Chidarikire.

Kadoma businessman Cde Jimayi Muduvuri who is collaborating with Vhuka Farmer owner Mr Hashmon Matemera and several other farmers to look after the cattle, said the move vindicated the land reform programme.

“We took the decision to support the President as a way of showing that we are beneficiaries of the land reform and we are grateful,” said Cde Muduvuri.

Mr Matemera said the move was an expression of the determination of indigenous farmers to fly the Zimbabwean flag high.

The handover ceremony was also attended by Ministers Dr Joseph Made (Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development), Dr Mumbengegwi, Saviour Kasukuwere (Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development) and Ambassador to Ethopia Mr Albert Ranganai Chimbindi among others.

Chief Chanetsa and Makonde MP Cde Kindness Paradza were also part of the delegation.

The AU Commission deputy chairman later toured Vhuka Farm, which is home to game such as lions, wildebeest and pigs after seeing the cattle and their official handover.

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  • sambiri

    Handing over 300 cattle to a mere club yet the country is on hunger fire. Two things are infinite: the universe and stupidity. A hallmark of disorder.

  • Mhesvamukono

    This gift of 300 head of cattle appears to confirm President Mugabe’s primitive unconscious desire to offer Lobolo to the AU, perhaps in guilty compensation for failing to pay millions in AU membership fees during 2015 and undoubtedly the same during 2016, whereby a large proportion of the AU budget deficit is assumed by its true unswerving Pan-African supporters the Western donors?
    The fact these 300 fat and healthy cattle will remain on Zimbabwe soil and need to be fed and maintained at the taxpayers expense fools nobody. Why not swap these 300 healthy head of cattle for 300 bags of skin and bone cattle from drought stricken areas, fatten them up (using AU funds?) before repeating the endless swap for another 300 starving cattle from grateful villagers. Far more useful and proactive than reserving a small group of cattle uniquely for photoshoots and propaganda purposes?

  • hunzi007

    Appears the president is looking for continued AU support in * holding disputed elections since we have one not in the distant future. I sure such cattle could not have been donated during his AU chairmanship tenure as he had a final say in whether to accept or reject rigged results. During his tenure as AU, Nzirukunzinza in Burundi was unopposed despite timid putrefying humanitarian crisis, Xenophobia in SA was a success despite condemnation by private humanitarian organisations whilst a number of Africans died whilst trying to cross into Europe running away from oppressive African governments. Africa will never go anyway if her leaders show such cronyism to gunner immunity from Organizations like AU. Zimbabwe is facing a horrible drought that has decimated the national cattle herd but all we hear are these donations. Hopefully AU is not going to get a donated farm

  • Ross Gordon

    There is a drought in the country and unless the cattle are sold or given away they will die!

  • hozhwa

    Zimbabwe is literary broke yet it is giving away cattle. Bob declared a state of disaster recently. I cant reconcile the two. I think i need someone to break it down for me.