Zimbabwe auctions cattle donated to AU by Mugabe

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe attends the swearing-in ceremony of his new Vice President John Nkomo at the State House in the capital Harare December 14, 2009. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo (ZIMBABWE - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

No fewer than 100 of the 300 cattle donated to the African Union (AU) by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in 2016 have been sold through an auction as the continental body looks at various avenues to become self-sufficient.

During his tenure as AU chairperson in 2015, Mugabe pledged the cattle which he hoped would help the continental body extricate itself from the clutches of foreign funders who stand accused of using their financial muscle to compromise the sovereignty of African states.

Although the exact amount raised at the Tuesday auction was not disclosed, it is understood that the beasts sold at around 800 U.S. dollars each, according to state media.

Zimbabwe Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said Mugabe’s donation was a major contribution towards the AU becoming self-financing.

“This is an important contribution to the self-financing of the African Union Foundation. These efforts are going to continue,”  Mumbengegwi said.

He said more auctions would be held to dispose of all the cattle ahead of Mugabe presenting the check to the AU heads of state summit in July.

During Mugabe’s tenure as AU chairperson, time-frames were established for the body to finance 100 per cent of its operations, at least 75 per cent of its programmes and at least 25 per cent of its peace-keeping missions within five years.

AU Foundation chief operating officer Dumisani Mngadi, who witnessed the auction, thanked Mugabe for the donation.

“For us it’s a call for all other African leaders, business people, people wherever you are to be able to contribute to the development of our African people,” he said.

Lantana.N