President Mugabe made a bold remark at the just-ended World Economic Forum on Africa that took place in Durban, South Africa.
As he addressed the forum — a gathering of the world’s economic,financial and development minds — and politicians like him too, he refused to be cowed into acknowledging the categorisation that Zimbabwe is a “fragile state”.
“Zimbabwe is one of the most highly developed countries in Africa and after South Africa, I want to know which country has that level of development that we see in Zimbabwe,” he declared.
Zimbabwe has its problems (like any other country, some spawned from outside). But: “We have resources, perhaps more resources than (any) other country in the world,” he said.
“We are not a poor country. We can’t be a fragile country. We’ve got these resources.” The classification of Zimbabwe as a poor, impoverished, highly indebted country has been tried and been rejected, for its ridiculousness and the contempt it deserves.
And Tendai Biti, if you recall, was the last person to try to make it stick so that the country could be at the mercy of policies of talking heads such as of those gathered in Durban.
The proposition of Zimbabwe as a poor — sometimes the poorest in the world — is one that excites so much anger in one of our columnists here. You should talk to Bernard Bwoni, an economist.
He is based in the UK and has got more than a fair share for standing for the self-evident truth in a world full of self-serving liars and empty jokes. We carried a piece by Bwoni this week.
But in Durban, President Mugabe went further to illustrate how nonsensical the idea of Zimbabwe being a fragile state is. He said America has borrowed money from China (and is actually very much in debt) but had not been labelled fragile.
“I can call America fragile,” President Mugabe said. “But if someone wants to call us fragile, they are free to do so.” The remarks drew a lot of responses. They brought the Internet down, actually.
Typical Robert Mugabe.
And as usual there were a lot of jokes and small witted remarks especially, you know where, on Twitter. We hope we will see a proper analysis of this and placing into proper context in the coming days. It can’t be indefatigable Bwoni’s challenge alone!
Our idea is that this expose — this bold remark — this gauntlet that President Mugabe has thrown down may open up serious discussion around Zimbabwe and its prospects.
President Mugabe has proclaimed that Zimbabwe is Africa’s richest number two, after South Africa. He says, “I want to know which country has the same development as Zimbabwe.” President Mugabe of Zimbabwe says Zimbabwe has the richest mineral concentration in the world.
These two statements — and how we feel, interpret and act on them — could yet make a new narrative of Zimbabwe. And at WEF, none of those panellists and other geeks was outraged. Perhaps they know better. Better than us as a Zimbabwean collective. The Zimbabwe of Tendai Biti.
But obviously President Mugabe is not speaking of the Zimbabwe of today, worn and wearied as it is by generational challenges, including sanctions imposed by the West led by Britain and America.
Zimbabwe has tumbled to unique and oft unimaginable economic and financial lows, which we rightly attribute mostly to hostile interference by foreigners.
Incredibly, for all the knocks Zimbabwe has endured, it has managed to maintain systems and infrastructure that can make it a continental beater. This of course is nothing for the shallow analysis and naysers and poor victims of anti-Zimbabwe propaganda.
There should be something special in that WEF cameo. Somebody figure out please! Zimbabwe will be great. It is something prophetic. Pragmatically prophetic.
Another kind of prophecy
The reader may be surprised that we had not set out to discuss WEF and the Mugabe cameo: we hope we are going to furnish you with more insights which we expect from Durban.
But there is a kind of prophecy that came out true this week. Zimbabwe People First, that outfit of people who were expelled from the ruling zanu-pf in 2014-15.
These included former Vice President Joice Mujuru and members of her cabal like Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo, Dzikamai Mavhaire, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, Sylvester Nguni and Claudious Makova.
After momentarily claiming to be the real zanu-pf, they proclaimed themselves as Zimbabwe People First under the leadership of Joice Mujuru. That was in 2015.
Last year, President Mugabe made a hilarious but profoundly true observation that ZimPF would split into “People First, second, third etc”. One could as well have interpreted it as one of those witticisms associated with the world’s most educated leader.
As is now common knowledge, a couple of months ago, Mujuru disengaged from Gumbo and Mutasa to form the National People’s Party. People First had just gone People First 2.0. But that has not been enough, though.
Three or so days ago the party split, again. This time it was Agrippah Mutambara leading a band of others to proclaim a leadership separate from Gumbo and Mutasa.Zimbabwe People First 3.0 has just been born. It is phenomenal how things are falling apart.
More phenomenally, how one man predicted how it would unravel. And oh yes, he has told us about the “grand defeat” awaiting the opposition in 2018. There is scant reason to doubt it will come to pass. These are the pragmatic prophecies of Robert Mugabe. We have just given you the 101.