Tendai Kamhungira and Tarisai Machakaire 5 July 2017
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe is sharing Zimbabwe’s wealth by donating
$1 million to the African Union (AU), but his goodwill is being slammed by
opposition parties who believe the donation showed misplaced priorities.
The uproar comes after Mugabe presented a $1 million cheque to the AU
during the official opening of the 29th Ordinary Session of the AU heads
of State and government summit in Addis Ababa this week.
Mugabe said the money was raised from the 2015 cattle donation he pledged
towards capacitating the African Union Foundation.
“I am aware that this humble gesture on our part has no universal
application, but it demonstrates what is possible when we apply our minds
to the most urgent task before us, of finding alternative and innovative
ways of funding our union, in particular our Agenda 2063,” Mugabe told the
“As I have said before in this assembly, unless and until we can fund our
own programmes, the African Union will not be truly our own.”
While Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba and Information minister Chris
Mushowe were unreachable for comment, the ruling party yesterday defended
the donation and said that opposition political parties were grossly
“They don’t know what they are talking about,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon
Khaya-Moyo told the Daily News yesterday.
“Perhaps they would have been happier if the donation was given the
The European Union has a travel ban on the veteran leader. Mugabe accuses
Western countries of sabotaging Zimbabwe’s economy through sanctions
imposed to punish him and top ruling party officials for alleged rights
abuses and election fraud.
Mugabe, 93, is viewed by many in Africa as an independence hero. But
critics say he has run the country into the ground through mismanagement
of its once thriving economy, money printing and the redistribution of
critical commercial farms to landless blacks with little or no experience
in operating them.
Khaya-Moyo said: “Zimbabwe is a proud member of the African Union and we
shall do more to strengthen and defend Africa from external forces.”
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mugabe’s $1 million donation to the AU
“is an act of absurdity and misplaced priorities.”
“While at least 90 percent of Zimbabweans are wallowing in abject poverty
and penury, Mugabe has got the temerity to donate $1 million to the AU.
What type of errant nonsense is this?” Gutu said.
“This is a clear case of misplaced priorities. That money could have been
better used to provide essential drugs and medicines for our public
hospitals and clinics which are presently severely under-funded and
Gutu said that Mugabe’s donation to the AU is weird and sinister.
“Remember, there are elections to be held in Zimbabwe in 2018. Mugabe and
his faction-infested and bankrupt Zanu PF regime are desperate to rig
these elections so that they can cling onto power.
“This purported donation to the AU is actually a bribe that is meant to
soften the response of the AU in the event that next year’s elections are
rigged. Mugabe hardly does anything without harbouring an ulterior motive.
You can only trust him at your own peril,” Gutu said.
The Welshman Ncube-led MDC said Mugabe should proffer a convincing
explanation to the donation that he made to the AU.
“We are perplexed by the Mugabe donation given the state of affairs in the
country,” the party’s spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said.
“The Zanu PF leader is now running the country like his own tuck shop
forgetting that Zimbabweans are wailing for a better life every day.
“Zanu PF is very sure of its demise in 2018 and will do everything to
please the country’s friends. We are monitoring their behaviour at the
“They have accelerated their looting speed because of time.”
Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume
said that it is ironic that at a time that the government is struggling to
pay civil servants their 2016 bonuses, Mugabe is making such a donation.
“(It is) laughable in its futility as all countries in Africa in this
Internet age know that we do not have a currency. (It is also) tragic in
the sense that someone in a government hospital died because of lack of
drugs,” Mafume said, adding that women were giving birth at home because
of lack of transport to take them to hospitals.