President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Monday donated $1 million to the African Union Commission;proceeds from the sale of cattle belonging to him and is friends.
“You see, as an African and a farmer, the donation of cattle came to me naturally, given that our continent is rich in cattle,” he said as he handed over the $1 million cheque at the opening of the African Union Heads of Summit in Addis Ababa.
President Mugabe noted that he made the promise in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2015 to donate 300 head of cattle to the newly-established African Union Foundation.
“…When I returned to Zimbabwe, I informed my party and people, they said to me: ‘Uh…Comrade Mugabe, Comrade President, this is a very innovative idea; it is a very noble cause and we would like to be part of it.’
“They therefore joined hands and mobilised more cattle over and above my personal pledge,” he said.
“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 tasks before us to find alternative and innovative ways of funding our union and in particular, Agenda 2063,” President Mugabe said.
During the Johannesburg meeting, the African heads of state promised to find innovative financing mechanisms for the African Union and Agenda 2063. They include 100 per cent financing of the AU Commissions’ operational budget; 75 per cent programme budget and 25 per cent of the peacekeeping budget.
“It is the beginning of restoration of our dignity and integrity as a continent. Unless we can do that, we will remain dependent on others.
“It is never going to be easy to win ourselves from the donor-dependency syndrome. But we need to forge ahead for our sake and that of our future generations. This modest contribution I am making today is a symbolic step in that direction,” President Mugabe said.
The theme of this year’s summit is: “Harnessing demographic dividend through investment in the youth”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has called for the full implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), especially the operationalisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and the Peace Fund.
Osinbajo, made the call in his capacity as the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of July, while reporting on the council’s activities and the state of peace and security in Africa.
He reiterated the need for the PSC to work towards removing all distractions and impediments to the full attainment of operational capacity of the AFS.
“To ensure the effectiveness of the African Union peace support operations, the Regional Economic Communities and relevant international bodies, especially the United Nations must remain strategic pillars of peace, security and development of the Continent as envisioned in Agenda 2063.
“We must redouble our efforts and, and without equivocation avail the necessary resources, in order to successfully achieve the goals set out in Agenda 2063.
“We need to rekindle our political will and determination not to bequeath to the next generation of Africans the burden of wars, poverty and misery.”
Osinbajo said It was therefore necessary for the Assembly to reaffirm the overriding importance of holistically addressing the root causes of violent conflicts in our countries.
He said that it was only through such collective efforts that the noble goal of silencing the guns in Africa can be achieved.
He explained further that It was also essential that the international communities including the UN continue to reinforce their support for Africa peace and security agenda such as the complementarity between Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The tragic consequences of wars and conflicts in Africa are self-evident.
“The millions killed and maimed, the Millions displaced, children out of school, set us back decades economically and socially.
“Our resolve to end wars and conflicts in Africa is therefore our vote for a future of real growth and development for our continent.
(Source: Africa Review/NAN)