Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
PART of the 300 head of cattle that were donated by President Mugabe to the African Union have been converted to cash through an auction as part of efforts to ensure that the continental body becomes self-sufficient.
During his chairmanship of the AU in 2015, President Mugabe pushed for self-financing so that 75 percent of locally mobilised resources go towards running AU programmes while 25 percent would be channelled towards peace-keeping operations.
This came on the back of revelations that more than 60 percent of the AU budget was donor driven, a development that saw western donors influence AU programmes and trajectory.
An example is the union’s budget for 2014 which totalled $278million and 44 percent of this amount came from member states while the remainder came from development partners.
On Tuesday, 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 Ministers of State for Harare and Mashonaland West provinces Cdes Miriam Chikukwa and Faber Chidarikire respectively.
Although 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 cattle are 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.
At the AU Summit in July, President Mugabe is expected 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.