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MUTARE, Sept 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Zimbabwe's new president on Tuesday ruled out an early return of the Zimbabwean dollar, toning down remarks by his finance minister that backed reintroducing the currency.

In an inaugural address in parliament marked by an opposition walkout, President Emmerson Mnangagwa pledged a raft of economic measures, including currency reforms and better forex availability.

But, he said, conditions had to be right before foreign currencies were replaced once more by the Zimbabwean dollar.

"My government shall continue with the use of the multicurrency system up until the current negative economic fundamentals have been addressed to give credence to the introduction of the local currency," Mnangagwa said.

n 2009, wracked by hyper-inflation, Zimbabwe dumped the local dollar and adopted the US greenback and other foreign currencies, including the South African rand.

But the economy remains deep in the mire, crippled by policies adopted under Mnangagwa's predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

HARARE, Sept 16, 2018 (News Wires) - The death toll in Zimbabwe's cholera outbreak has risen to 28, state media said Sunday, as the health minister announced new antibiotics were being used after the disease strain was found to be resistant to some drugs.

The cholera outbreak, first detected in a township outside the capital Harare earlier this month, prompted the government to declare an emergency in the city after at least 3,000 cases were reported.

"Although I cannot say we have contained the disease as yet, we are moving swiftly in all provinces of the country," health minister Obadiah Moyo told the state-owned Sunday Mail.

"We have moved into the second line of antibiotics, which is azithromycin, after the first line of antibiotics -- ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone -- have become resistant to the disease."

Moyo said rubbish dumps would be removed from high-risk areas of Harare, sewer pipes would be repaired and street food vendors had been ordered to halt work.

Authorities have banned public gatherings in the city as a health measure, forcing the opposition MDC party to call off a major rally on Saturday.

Newly-appointed Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube last week launched a crowd-funding effort to raise money to fight the outbreak, publicising bank details on Twitter and appealing for donations.

Cholera outbreaks have occurred regularly in Zimbabwe as authorities struggle to provide potable water and sanitation facilities.

The cash-strapped country, which was ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his ousting last year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008.

A total of 4,000 people died and at least 100,000 people fell ill.

UNICEF advised Zimbabweans to prevent cholera spreading by regular hand-washing, drinking only safe water, washing food, cooking it throughly and avoiding shaking hands.

 

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Zimbabwe's main opposition says it has postponed an event to affirm its leader as the country's "duly elected president" because of a deadly cholera outbreak in the capital.

The announcement by the Movement for Democratic Change party comes after the government banned "public gatherings" in Harare to help curb the outbreak.

The opposition on Saturday had planned an "inauguration" of Nelson Chamisa after losing disputed elections. He would be the latest African politician to hold a ceremony of defiance while claiming the presidency.

The MDC party says the event will occur "on a later date."

Chamisa narrowly lost the July 30 election, the first after the fall of decades-long leader Robert Mugabe. A legal challenge to the results was rejected by the Constitutional Court.

 

HARARE, August 26, 2018 (News Wires) -- Emmerson Mnangagwa took the oath as Zimbabwe’s president in front of a stadium crowd on Sunday after a divisive election, as U.S. observers of that vote questioned the country’s democratic credentials.

The Constitutional Court confirmed Mnangagwa as president in a ruling released on Friday, dismissing a challenge by the man he defeated in the July 30 ballot, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.

Thousands of people, some bussed in from outside the capital, and foreign leaders gathered at Harare’s national stadium for the swearing-in of Mnangagwa, who just secured the 50 per cent of votes he needed to avoid a runoff against Chamisa.

He took the oath before Chief Justice Luke Malaba who, together with eight other Constitutional Court judges had dismissed Chamisa’s petition.

The election was touted as a crucial step towards shedding the pariah reputation Zimbabwe gained under Mnangagwa’s predecessor Robert Mugabe, and securing international donor funding to revive a crippled economy.

But hours before Mnangagwa’s inauguration, the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute said the country lacked a “tolerant democratic culture” in which political parties were treated equally and citizens allowed to vote freely.

The election was marred by procedural lapses and followed by an army crackdown against opposition supporters, undermining promises that Mnangagwa made during campaigning to break with the corruption and mismanagement that become endemic under Mugabe.

The crackdown, which left six people dead on Aug. 1, recalled the heavy-handed security tactics that marked the 37-year rule of Mugabe, who was removed in a coup in November.

The U.S. observers also urged “all sides to rely on peaceful expression and to avoid acts or threats of retribution against political rivals following the Constitutional Court’s decision.”

Washington has maintained travel and financial sanctions on senior ruling party officials, including Mnangagwa, as well as some state-owned firms. Washington’s support is key if Zimbabwe is to get any funding from the International Monetary Fund.

The European Union, meanwhile, has progressively removed sanctions and they only remain in place on Mugabe and his wife Grace.

JOHANNESBURG, August 16, 2018 (News Wires) - The Zimbabwean opposition's challenge against President Emmerson Mnangagwa's election victory will be heard in the constitutional court on August 22, the opposition leader's spokesman said on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa says the July 30 presidential vote, the first since the removal of Robert Mugabe last year, was rigged by a biased electoral commission. The electoral commission and Mnangagwa say there was no foul play.

The Constitutional Court can throw the case out, declare a new winner or order a fresh election.

HARARE, August 8, 2018 (News Wires) - Zimbabwe police on Wednesday arrested former finance minister and opposition politician Tendai Biti as he tried to cross the border and seek asylum in neighbouring Zambia, his lawyer said.

Biti, whose party formed an election alliance with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s main rival Nelson Chamisa, is the first senior opposition politician to be arrested in the aftermath of last week’s disputed presidential election won by Mnangagwa.

Lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo said Biti was arrested after presenting himself to Zambian immigration officials at Chirundu border post, north of the capital Harare and police had not yet informed him of the charges.

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