South Africa’s eNCA news has posted a video on Facebook of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe defending his economic record.
He was asked at the World Economic Forum meeting in Durban if Zimbabwe was a fragile state.
He said “that is not true” and called Zimbabwe “one of the most highly developed countries in Africa, after South Africa”.
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.”
Backing up his case he cited the 90% literacy rates among other achievements.
“I don’t think of us as a fragile state from an economic point of view.
“Yes, we have our problems… but we have resources, perhaps more than the average country… and our agriculture is very viable and this year we will have a bumper harvest”.
In the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index, Zimbabwe is ranked as low, at 154th place in the world.
Neighbouring Botswana is 108th, South Africa is 119th and Algeria is 83rd.