The African Union (AU) has asked government to auction the 300 herd of cattle donated by President Robert Mugabe and give the regional bloc cash instead.
In donating the cattle, Mugabe had envisaged they would “grow and reproduce”, and help the Union in sustaining itself.
Instead, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said yesterday the continental body demanded that the gift be converted into cash.
Mugabe, who was AU chairperson at the time of donation, felt it would be an innovative way to fund the bloc’s operations and help it to move away from relying on donor funds.
“As you all know we have been holding auctions of cattle around the country at the request of the AU Foundation…instead of allowing them to grow and reproduce they decided they should be auctioned,” Mumbengegwi said.
“We invited the AU Foundation to come and witness the auction. Last week, their chief operating officer was here to witness some of the auctions held in Gweru, more auctions are going to be held in Masvingo, in Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.”
Mumbengengwi yesterday gave a brief background of the thinking behind Mugabe’s 300-herd of cattle pledge, made in 2015 in Johannesburg during the launch of the AU Foundation.
“It was at this occasion where he pledged 300 herd of cattle towards the financing of this foundation and I believe this was one of the first innovative offers to the foundation to kick start it so that it leads to a situation where the foundation becomes self-sufficient,” he said.
But the continental union preferred cash.
“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?” Mugabe told the State media then.
Mumbengegwi said “land reform program beneficiaries immediately advised the president that they would assist in raising the promised cattle,”
“This was not to say the president could not have done it himself, but this was an appreciation by our people as beneficiaries of a very important land programme,” he added. – Daily News