Mugabe, who is the current AU chairman until 2016, made the pledge at the continental body’s fundraising dinner held during its recent 53rd summit in South Africa.
He urged other African states to rely on themselves to fund the AU instead of depending on the west. Mugabe promised to consult his wife, Grace, who did not attend the summit, after which the donation would be made. If he keeps his promise, the sale of the cattle would raise some $240,000.
“Sorry, I did not come with my wife. She went to see our daughter . . . When she comes, I will persuade her that from the lots of cattle we have, we can contribute some 300 so that they can be sold as our own contribution to start pledges in our country,” said Mugabe.
He did not state that the promise was a joke and added: “There is need for Africa to spearhead the process of mobilising domestic resources so as to finance its programmes and institutions as part of continental self-reliance.”
However, Obert Gutu, the MDC-T national spokesperson, said Mugabe’s promise must be dismissed with contempt.
“That pledge is a big joke anyway. What will the value of 300 beasts do in funding the operations of a mammoth continental organisation such as the AU? Mugabe is clearly delusional. He shouldn’t be taken seriously by any genuine Pan – Africanist,” said Gutu.
Mugabe’s source of a big herd of cattle is not known, but there are suspicions that he received beasts that were formerly owned by white commercial farmers who were forced off their farms during the violent land reform programme that commenced in 2000.
Gutu said Mugabe’s pledge was a “serious case of misplaced priorities.” “Here is a man who has run down his own country’s economy pledging 300 mombes (cattle) towards the operations of running the AU! Surely, Mugabe must have been joking. Those 300 beasts should be sold and the proceeds arising from the sale should be put towards buying essential drugs and medicines for the country’s rural hospitals and clinics,” he added. Mugabe is failing to turn around the economy which went on a nose dive after the contested 2013 general elections. Zimbabwe is saddled with an unemployment rate of more than 80 percent, according to independent estimates.
“No one within the AU takes Mugabe seriously any more.They just enjoy his macabre sense of humour and at the end of the day, they privately sympathise with the plight of Zimbabweans who are suffering as a result of the ruinous political and economic policies of Robert Mugabe,” said Gutu.Post published in: News