Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is a man full of surprises.

Mugabe believes that African independence starts from economic freedom.

He believes in many other things also.

But he believes even more so for Africa’s political organisations such as the African Union, which he said if it is to live up to it billings must stay away from foreign aids.

To walk the talk, the Zimbabwean President on Monday donated $1 million to the African Union Commission - proceeds from the sale of cattle belonging to him and his 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.

This gesture was in fulfiment of the promise he made in 2015 when the AU Commission held its summit in South Africa in 2015.

He had pledged to donate 300 heads of cattle to the then 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.

Speaking further on what the gesture signifies, Mugabe said: “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 wean 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.”