Police today banned all public gatherings in Harare because of the cholera outbreak in the capital raising questions about whether Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa will go ahead with his planned inauguration or not.
The government has declared a state of emergency in Harare where the disease has so far claimed 21 lives. Over 3 000 cases have been reported.
Chamisa wanted to swear himself in as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe at the weekend claiming that he won the 30 July elections but he seemed to have been touched by the cholera outbreak after visiting Glen View today.
“My visit to Glen view left me so harassed and challenged. The scale of the cholera crisis is severe. A collective national approach is necessary to contain and stop any loss of life,” he tweeted this evening.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa tweeted: “My thoughts & prayers are with those suffering from the cholera outbreak, and the loved ones of those we have lost. In order to contain the outbreak & mobilise resources we have declared a state of emergency in Harare, and are working closely with our international partners.
“I urge all residents of affected areas to exercise extra care with their hygiene & follow the instructions of the authorities as we seek to contain & overcome this outbreak. We are working tirelessly to control the situation and hope to communicate progress in due course.”
Amnesty International has called on the government to make sure that there is no repeat of 2008 when more than 4 000 people died after a cholera outbreak.
“The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system,” Amnesty said.
“It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease.
“Given what happened in 2008, the government should have been better prepared. But no lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic, and the outbreak and deaths we’re seeing now is symptomatic of a still-broken sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies.
“The newly-elected government of Zimbabwe must learn from its predecessor’s mistakes and take action that stops people dying from preventable diseases. The authorities must invest in proper sanitation and health infrastructure, and ensure universal access to health care.
“If Zimbabwe lacks the resources to address these issues it can, and is obliged under international law to do so, request assistance. As the government itself has now admitted, this is a national disaster which requires an immediate and effective response.”