Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, has donated 300 cows to raise money for the Africa Union (AU) Foundation to help stop dependance on foreign aid funding. President Mugabe handed a $1 million cheque to the AU after the cattle were sold in Zimbabwe. The cheque was handed to the AU at its leaders’ summit in Ethiopia and Pres Mugabe said his friends helped contribute to the noble cause to help end AU’s aid dependancy.
Historically, member states have failed to pay their contributions to the bloc “not because of the lack of money” but because their leaderships displayed a “lack of determination, capability, propensity, willingness, energy and commitment” to their countries’ AU membership. This makes President Mugabe a trendsetter in alternative financing for the AU showing both determination and capability for domestic funding.
However, President Mugabe’s donation has been met with strong criticism considering that the gift comes amid a severe cash crisis in Zimbabwe.
In April parents in Zimbabwe struggling to raise tuition fees for their children were allowed to offer livestock such as goats as payment or offer their skills to the schools. Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Lazarus Dokora was quoted by local press saying, “On the issue of livestock, the community has to arrange a market where everyone participates; from the school authorities, local leadership and parents themselves to avoid parents being duped.”
Zimbabwe is currently going through a crippling cash crisis, and efforts by the Central Bank to ease the liquidity crunch have been fruitless.
While President Mugabe’s donation is a step in the right direction in terms of AU’s self-reliance, it has been met with mixed emotions in the country, across the continent, and on social media, welcomed by some but heavily criticised by others as disingenuous considering the ongoing cash crisis in Zimbabwe.