Slumped and mumbling, 93-year-old Mugabe denies Zimbabwe is "fragile"

President Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's firm assertions that his country was "well-resourced and not poor" at the World Economic Forum in Durban on Friday drew anger from civil society groups representing millions of his countrymen who have migrated to neighbouring South Africa.

Zuma made the remarks after he held talks with the Zimbabwean leader on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting in Durban. "I can call America fragile - they went on their knees to China", said Mugabe.

During the panel session, Mugabe boasted that Zimbabwe had 14 universities and a 90 percent rate of literacy, offering this as evidence of the country's level of development. "Yes we have our problems but certainly we have achieved ... we have our resources, perhaps more resources than the average country in the world", he said. But Mugabe, sitting on a panel at the WEF, dismissed the idea that Zimbabwe is in a fragile state.

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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". "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.

A "fragile" state is a low-income country characterised by weak capacity and/or weak legitimacy leaving citizens vulnerable to both natural and man-made shocks. I think that is completely wrong because there are elements of fragility everywhere."When we talking about fragility we think about countries, in fact, the spinover effects of fragility in one area can outgrow consequences".

"Over 75% of our people are living in extreme poverty, 70% use the bush as toilets and our debt is over 43% of gross domestic product. Mugabe has to know this reality", Saungweme said.

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