Felex Share Senior Reporter—
President Mugabe has honoured his pledge of 300 head of cattle he made to the African Union Foundation last year, with AU Commission deputy chairperson Mr Erastus Mwencha arriving in the country yesterday to receive the cattle.The President, who was AU and Sadc chairman when he made the pledge in June last year, made the donation as a way of dissuading Africa from over-reliance on external partners whose donations come with strings attached.
Speaking after meeting President Mugabe at State House, Mr Mwencha said the cattle contribution would go a long way in capacitating the Foundation.
“I am here for very good news,” he said.
“His Excellency the President during his tenure as chairperson of the African Union made a contribution and a donation to the private sector and as we know that last year when we had Ebola the private sector came up in a very strong way to support the African Union. So His Excellency also showed his commitment in that direction.
“He made a donation of some 300 cattle which will be a contribution to support our programmes including, for instance, building our health capacity and also strengthening our education for the continent.”
The African Union Foundation is the brainchild of African Heads of State and Government and was created for the purposes of collaborating with the private sector, philanthropists, individuals and the Diaspora to solicit donations and seek voluntary contributions towards the financing of Africa’s development priorities in pursuit of Agenda 2063.
The Foundation seeks to promote the development of skills and human resources on the continent, women empowerment and gender equality and to promote integration and management of diversity, youth development and entrepreneurship, advocacy and support for the African Union
Mr Mwencha said they were yet to make a decision on whether to sell the cattle or “get a place to keep them so that they multiply”. President Mugabe, who has repeatedly called on African countries to depend on themselves, said he hoped the donation would “keep the foundation going”.
“I am happy that the gift we offered to the AU is at last received by the beneficiary,” he said. “I just decided that we make a gift in kind, it just struck me that no one had ever thought of a gift by way of cattle to the AU and since we are cattle people why shouldn’t we also make a gift to the AU in cattle form? So we are very happy to make such a contribution, it (AU) is our organisation. And we hope the cattle, as will be decided now by the AU, will play some part in establishing the foundation, making the foundation keep going.”
Kadoma businessman Mr Jimayi Muduvuri, who is looking after the cattle, said he had seen it fit to assist President Mugabe who always had a busy schedule. “I am the one who said President you cannot do that for yourself, being the chairman for AU (by then), it is not his job. He is working for us and that is our duty to support our President,” he said.
Mr Mwencha is expected to go and see the cattle at Vuka Farm in Karoi today.