DURBAN - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Thursday denied that his country was a “failed state”, insisting that it was a well-resourced country, and instead took a shot at the United States.
Speaking during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on Africa at the International Convention Centre in Durban, Mugabe said: “We are not a poor country and we can’t be a fragile country, I can call America fragile, they went with their knees to China.”
During the session titled “Eye on Africa’s Failing States”, the elderly statesman said the Southern African country was one of the most well-resourced countries on the continent, adding that Zimbabwe had 14 universities and a literacy rate at over 90%.
However, Oxfam’s executive director, Winnie Byanyima, in a veiled rebuke at Mugabe, said the problem was that African leaders were dictatorial.
“Our leaders say we rich, they say we are developed, they say we have resources, but the people do not see that. They clamp down on freedom of the media and the rights of people,” she said.
Byanyima said communities with strong governance structures at a local level could not be fooled by gun-yielding leaders ruling societies with weak institutions, and who spoke on the radio from the capital.
In Byanyima’s parting shot to Mugabe, she said: “Let us give others a chance, it is important that we have elections that are free and fair – that reflect the will of the people, that is at the heart of governance.”
African News Agency