Mugabe slammed over 'Zim second to SA' remark

HARARE - Opposition parties yesterday slammed President Robert Mugabe and demanded his immediate resignation after he ridiculously claimed that Zimbabwe is only second to South Africa (SA) in terms of development on the continent.

The recently turned 93 leader, whose government is accused of decimating Zimbabwe’s economy and causing untold suffering to ordinary masses, told the World Economic Forum in SA that the country is not a fragile State.

According to South African News24, Mugabe made a surprise appearance on a morning panel on fragile States that was held yesterday in Durban and he shared the stage with the likes of American actor Forest Whitaker, Unesco Special Envoy for Peace, and Donald Kaberuka, the special envoy for the African Union Peace Fund.

Anton du Plessis from the Institute for Security Studies, after saying that corruption and bad leadership contributed to the problem of fragile States in Africa, asked Mugabe if he agreed that Zimbabwe was a failed State.

Laughing, Mugabe slowly said: “That isn’t true”.

“Zimbabwe is the most highly developed country in Africa. After South Africa, I want to see another country as highly developed.”

Mugabe boasted that the struggling country — recently ranked as the poorest on the continent by AfrAsia Bank in its Africa Wealth 2017 report – has 14 universities and a literacy rate of over 90 percent.

“We have a bumper harvest, not only maize, but also tobacco and many other crops. We are not a poor country,” he said, adding that “if anyone wants to call us fragile, they can. You can also call America fragile”.

However, his claims infuriated opposition parties and ordinary Zimbabweans — who are struggling daily to make ends meet, as they sleep in bank queues trying to withdraw their hard-earned money.

Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the nonagenarian “should wake up from his slumber and admit that everything is rotting while he is in power”.

“We are not too sure whether...Mugabe is living in the real Zimbabwe that most of us are living in or perhaps, he is living in his own world,” he wondered.

“It’s not surprising, however, that Mugabe made those kind of remarks because he and members of his family, including members of the ruling elite, are cushioned from the hardships that the majority of Zimbabweans are facing on a daily basis ; ranging from lack of cash, lack of jobs and a generally depressed economic environment in which all businesses are suffering.”

Gutu said “to say that Zimbabwe is a fragile State is actually an understatement”.

“In reality, Zimbabwe is actually a failed State in which more than 75 percent of the population is living in grinding poverty and penury. Zimbabwe’s national road and railway infrastructure is dilapidated; our public hospitals are a complete mess in which even the most basic of medicines such as painkillers and drips are hard to come across,” he said.

“We are now a basket case, thanks to decades of Zanu PF misrule, rampant corruption and unprecedented dereliction of governmental responsibility,” Gutu went on.

Afghanistan-based political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said at his age, and considering that he has travelled across the globe, Mugabe should know that neighbouring countries such as Mozambique that were once far behind Zimbabwe in terms of development are now pulling ahead with thriving economies.

“Mugabe needs to travel to other countries and see why Zimbabwe is a fragile State.  About 90 percent of our people are living below $1 per day. Our GDP per capita is the lowest in Southern Africa.  We have over 90 percent formal unemployment,” he said.

“We are one for the few African countries without its own currency. We are a fragile State fast drifting to a failed one. Mugabe has to know this reality,” Saungweme said.

“And Mugabe is responsible for this and he has to accept it,” he said.

Comments (4)

Mugabe is a disgrace and he has no shame. The man is so much out of touch with reality it boggles the mind. In the first place, why did he not take one of the VPs to such an important occasion so that someone with a future could listen to the sentiments of others and see what changes to be made. Mugabe is so selfish he thinks he is the only person who can think in Zimbabwe yet he is long past his sell by date. His followers are also too stupid not to tell him the truth. Those sentiments in South Africa about Zimbabwe, which everybody knows about except Mugabe, make truly a laughing stock.

MR COOPER - 6 May 2017

This would be amusing if the consequences of his (and apparently the country's) denial weren't so tragic.

david taylor - 6 May 2017

Sir Robert judges by what he sees at airports, Harare airport is well kept and maintained. Only because he uses it a lot and his son inlaw is in charge. Now he thinks because the airport is like this, the whole of Zim must be like this

Gregg Smith - 7 May 2017

Our dear leader Strongman Comrade His Excellency Robert G Mugabe is not often wrong as history has shown. Zimbabwe is second only to S Africa on the continent and upwards of 90 per cent of its population are literate - proof is that the country boasts 14 Universities

Dangerman PhD - 7 May 2017

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