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Billionaire Ibrahim Laments Zimbabwe Political 'Stagnation'

Good governance for Africa proponent and British billionaire Mo Ibrahim says bad political leadership in Zimbabwe is restraining the country’s development and economic prosperity.

The Sudanese-born philanthropist, whose Mo Ibrahim Foundation awards $5 million prize to an African leader who excels in democracy each year, said Monday that Harare had great potential, but was being held to ransom by politics.

While complementing them as some of the best educated people in Africa, Ibrahim challenged Zimbabweans to "put their act together" and solve their enduring political problems.

“We really hope the Zimbabwean people will somehow come together to solve this impasse and enable the country to move forward,” he told AFP.

Ibrahim made the statement after his foundation announced that as in 2009 and 2010, it had not found any deserving winner for the 2012 Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Finding a winner for such a prize can particularly be a challenge considering that most serving and former African leaders are either tainted by corruption or autocratic rule - the direct opposite of what the Ibrahim foundation stands for.

Former Mozambican president Joachim Chisano won the inaugural award in 2007, followed by Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008 and Cape Verde's Pedro Pires in 2011.

Political analyst Nkululeko Sibanda of the Huddersfield University in Britain commented that Zimbabweans should indeed confront their political situation and move the country forward.