Mugabe’s ‘dummy’ AU donation

ZANU PF has reportedly ordered its 10 provinces to raise at least $75 000 each to pay back an undisclosed amount of money “borrowed” from Treasury to help partly fund President Robert Mugabe’s $1 million cheque donation to the African Union (AU) early this month.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

During his tenure as AU chairperson in 2015, Mugabe pledged 300 cattle, in a bid to inspire the continent to self-fund its programmes to reduce the dependence on Western donor funding.

He later sold the cattle locally, with a view to present the donation in cash form.

However, at the time of going to the AU summit, the pledged amount had not yet been mobilised, reportedly prompting Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to intervene.

“The President presented a cheque for $1 million, but the money raised from the cattle auction was nowhere near that amount,” an impeccable source said.

“(Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius) Chombo and the national political commissar (Saviour Kasukuwere) are now scrambling to raise the money.

“Chombo and his colleagues told the President that they had raised $1 million, but there was no money and Chinamasa had to make a last-minute intervention.

“The money they are forcing provinces to raise now is probably meant to pay back Treasury. It’s a murky project that is open to abuse.”

NewsDay heard that Chombo told party chairpersons and provincial commissars at a meeting last Monday that each of the ruling party’s 10 provinces should raise $75 000.

“The provinces have been ordered to raise $750 000 in all to cover the gap created and make sure the $1 million promised to the AU is paid in,” another source said.

Newly-elected Masvingo provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira confirmed the development, but could not elaborate.

“Yes (provinces have been asked to raise $75 000 each), but call me in the afternoon, I am in a meeting,” he said.

Zanu PF activist and businessman, Jimayi Muduvuri, who confirmed his involvement in the cattle donation and auctions, also admitted the party’s provincial structures had been asked to raise the money.

“I attended that meeting (Monday) and, I must say, while provinces were asked to raise a minimum of $75 000 each, it is not going to the AU,” he explained.

“The AU donation has already been paid. I was responsible for the cattle auctions. It was a successful programme and the donations from all provinces were overwhelming. We raised over $1 million.”

The Kadoma businessman could, however, not provide figures of the number of cattle auctioned to raise the $1 million.

“Thousands of cattle were sold and we raised over $1 million. The party realised that it was a successful project, so we have decided that it should continue to help the President,” he said.

“Zimbabwe will remain part of the AU and the President is a founding father. He might want to chip in and help again in the future.”

Muduvuri said the provinces could still make donations in the form of cattle.

Chinamasa was not available for comment, with his mobile going unanswered yesterday.

Zanu PF national spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo was also not available for comment, while Kasukuwere referred questions to party treasurer, Obert Mpofu.

“I am not the secretary for finance. Talk to Mpofu,” he said.

Mpofu could not be reached for comment.