Foreign Policy magazine of the United States has ranked Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe the world’s second-worst dictator following North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-Il
In its latest rankings of the world’s worst leaders, the magazine called Mr. Mugabe a hero who had “transformed himself into a murderous despot.” He edged out Than Shwe of Burma and Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan.
In its failed states index, co-published last week with the Fund for Peace, Foreign Policy ranked Zimbabwe fourth as a failed state after Somalia, Chad and Sudan.
London-based political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that President Mugabe deserves his position near the top of the dictatorial ranks.
But Foreign Policy’s rankings are criticized by some who say Zimbabwe can no longer be considered a failed state, and that Mr. Mugabe’s excesses have been tempered by the current national unity government in which he shares power - somewhat uneasily it is true - with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Among critics of the ranking is Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Programs Manager Pedzisai Ruhanya who says that while he agrees Mr. Mugabe is authoritarian he is not in the same class with, for example, Burma's Than Shwe.
"I don't know what methodology they used but the issue of ranks is subjective. It is the public that should be left to judge," Ruhanya said in an interview.