NO LONGER able to feed itself and with three million of its citizens facing hunger after a severe drought, Zimbabwe earlier this month appealed for $1.6bln from donors to help avert starvation.
But President Robert Mugabe is not happy that the African Union (AU) should be dependent on the same donors and external partners for funding.
And so, as its chairman last year, the veteran leader offered 300 cows to help ease the AU’s reliance on donors who come with “conditionalities”.
AU Commission deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha arrived in Harare Thursday to collect the donation which is meant for the African Union Foundation.
I am here for very good news,” said Mwencha.
“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.”
According to state media, the cows are being “kept” by Kadoma businessman Jimayi Muduvuri at his Karoi farm.
Mugabe said he was happy to help the AU.
“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.”