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Zimbabwe 'stops luxury car purchases' for cholera fund

Zimbabwe's government has suspended plans for ministers to buy luxury vehicles as the country continues to deal with a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 30 people, local reports say.

Last week, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube was criticised after he launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to deal with the health crisis.

People accused the government of having misused public money on unnecessary expenditure.

"With the $15.7m (£11.9m) that the government has pledged towards the outbreak of cholera, we suspended things like purchase of vehicles for ministers and members of parliament to make sure that we deal with this out break immediately," the Zimbabwe Mail quotes Mr Ncube as saying.

Cabinet ministers are entitled to a Mercedes-Benz sedan, Range Rover or Toyota Land Cruisers, the NewsDay website reports.

Deputy ministers and legislators can purchase slightly less flashy cars and the total vehicle budget amounts to $20m, NewsDay adds.

Cholera victims are being treated in tented clinics
Cholera victims are being treated at these tented clinics in Harare

Zimbabwe opposition walk out of key presidential speech

Zimbabwean opposition lawmakers have walked out of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's state of the nation address in parliament.

An Al Jazeera journalist has tweeted this footage of them filing out the building:

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Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MPs and their leader Nelson Chamisa heckled President Mnangagwa when he started reading his speech before leaving the national assembly.

Reuters news agency attributes the display to the opposition's "lingering bitterness" after losing the disputed general election in July.

In today's speech, Mr Mnangagwa said the election period was decisively in the past.

President Mnangagwa also said the mining amendment bill passed in June will be brought back to parliament to "address some inadequacies", Reuters reports.

Previous changes saw the removal of clauses requiring foreign mining companies to list locally, and gave the mines minister the authority, after consulting with the president, to designate any mineral as strategic if "it would be in the interests of the development of the mining industry".

Zimbabwe crowdfunds to fight cholera

Zimbabwe has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help its emergency response to a cholera outbreak, which has killed around 25 people.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube tweeted about the initiative on Thursday, providing the mobile payment account number of the finance ministry:

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The waterborne disease was first detected last week in a township outside the capital, Harare, and is now spreading rapidly in the city, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

"There are now 3,766 cases. The number of deaths is now 25," Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told journalists on Thursday, AFP news agency reports.

The decision to crowdfund has been met with a mixed response on Twitter:

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Zimbabwe bans gatherings 'to fight cholera'

Police in Zimbabwe have banned all public gatherings in the capital, Harare, to control the spread of cholera, which has killed 21 people and infected more than 2,000 other residents.

It comes a day after the authorities declared a state of emergency over the outbreak - blamed on two infected boreholes:

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Harare City Council has struggled to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing people to rely on wells and community boreholes for water.

The country suffered its biggest cholera outbreak in 2008 - at the height of an economic meltdown, which hampered the medical response to the crisis. More than 4,000 people died.

BBC Africa's Stanley Kwenda has tweeted the police statement - and questioned whether the ban affects political gatherings.

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Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa had planned to hold a rally on Saturday with plans for a mock presidential swearing in - to protest against the victory of President Emmerson Mnangagwa in July's election.

Zimbabwe declares health emergency after cholera deaths

Patients being treated at a hospital in Harare
Zimbabwe suffered its biggest cholera outbreak in 2008 when more than 4,000 people died and another 40,000 were treated after being infected

Officials in Zimbabwe have declared a health emergency in the capital, Harare, after the death toll of people infected with cholera rose to 20, news agency Reuters reports.

At least 2,000 people have been infected after drinking contaminated water.

It came about after burst sewers contaminated water in boreholes and open wells, which are used by residents of Budiriro and Glenview suburbs, Health Minister Obadiah Moyo said.

"We are declaring an emergency for Harare. This will enable us to contain cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on. We don't want any further deaths," Mr Moyo said after touring a hospital treating patients in the capital.

Harare city council has struggled to supply water to some suburbs for more than a decade, forcing residents to rely on water from open wells and community boreholes, Reuters reports.

Zimbabwe sets up post-poll killings inquiry

Shingai Nyoka

BBC Africa, Harare

Security forces firing on the streets of Harare on Wednesday 1 August 2018
Six people died after the security forces opened fire on opposition protesters

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed a seven-member commission of inquiry into deadly post-election protests.

Two days after the vote, six people were killed when the military opened fire on protesting MDC Alliance supporters, who alleged that party leader Nelson Chamisa had been robbed of victory.

Ruling on an official opposition challenge to the result, the constitutional court said it had found no evidence of fraud and confirmed that Mr Mnangagwa was winner of the 30 July election.

The commission will be led by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and he will be assisted by national experts, a UK lawyer and a former Commonwealth secretary-general.

It has three months to look into the motives behind the 1 August protests, the role of the military and its use of deadly force.

The military’s actions damaged President Mnangagwa’s international standing and he hopes the independent inquiry will prove his commitment to the rule of law.

MDC in bid to raise $129,000 after court defeat

Zimbabwe's opposition MDC Alliance is trying to raise $129,000 (£100,000) to pay legal fees after the country's highest court dismissed its application to annul President Emmerson Mnangagwa's victory in heavily disputed elections in July.

The Constitutional Court's ruling was "against overwhelming public opinion", and "worse still, it carried a punitive condition requiring [MDC Alliance candidate] Nelson Chamisa to foot the legal costs of everyone involved", its fund-raising page says.

More than £9,000 had been raised in the first day.

Mr Chamisa's spokesman has tweeted about it:

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Mr Chamisa boycotted Mr Mnangagwa's inauguration in the capital, Harare, on Sunday.

He maintains that the result was rigged to give Mr Mnangagwa outright victory.

Ousted President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace were also absent from the inauguration. However, their daughter, Bona, and her husband, Simba Chikore, were present.

Mr Mugabe had backed Mr Chamisa in the election, despite the fact that he once saw him as an "enemy" and a "puppet" of the West.

In his inauguration speech, Mr Mnangagwa read out a letter from Mr Mugabe amid cheers from the crowd, the state-linked Herald newspaper reported.

“Your Excellency, thank you for your invitation to me and my wife to attend the inauguration ceremony. My wife is not well in Singapore and also I am not well. So I am sending my daughter and her husband to represent us. Hearty Congratulations,” the letter said.

The military forced Mr Mugabe, 94, to resign in November, opening the way for Mr Mnangagwa to take power.