The Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe has fulfilled his pledge of 300 cattle which he made to the African Union foundation last year.
The president, whose citizens have suffered hunger, pains and hardships as caused by the long bite of drought, made his donation to the foundation as the AU Commission deputy chairperson Mr Erastus Mwencha arrived at the country yesterday to receive the cattle.
Mugabe made this pledge while he was AU and Sadc chairman. His donation was made as a way of dissuading Africa from over-reliance on external partners whose donations come with strings attached.
A while after his meeting with the president at the State House, Mwencha appreciated the president’s effort to keep to his word and stating further that the donated cattle would be of great help to the foundation’s growth.
“…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.
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.”
Mean while, Mugabe reiterated the need for African countries to rely on each other as he hoped the donation will go a long way to “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.”
Mr Mwencha who would be going to see the cattle at Vuka Farm in Karoi today, has however said that the foundation was yet to decide whether to sell the cattle or “get a place to keep them so that they multiply”.
The cattle were reportedly said to be under the custody of Kadoma businessman Jimayi Muduvuri at his Karoi farm and Muduvuri said that it was a privilege to be able to help the president.
“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.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean records over three million of its citizens leaving the country to a nearby country like South Africa because of the hash effect of drought and poor economy of the country.
Zimbabwe earlier this month appealed for 1.5 billion US dollars from donors to help finance the import of emergency grains and rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure.
The government intended to import 1.4 million tonnes of grains throughout the year to feed the at least 3 million Zimbabweans affected by the drought. Part of the money raised will be used to fix the dilapidated irrigation systems.