Mugabe declares Zimbabwe cholera crisis under control

Friday, December 12, 2008

Robert Mugabe at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa in January 2008

Robert Mugabe, the President of the African country of Zimbabwe, denied reports that the country is suffering from a cholera outbreak, saying that doctors have curbed the epidemic. "I am happy to say our doctors are being assisted by others and the WHO [World Health Organisation] have now arrested cholera," he said in a nationally televised address on Thursday, in response to recent calls for Mugabe to step down from office.

The Save the Children organisation said, on the other hand, that "if anything is certain in the chaos of Zimbabwe today, it is that the cholera outbreak is not under control."

President Mugabe accused Western powers of using the cholera outbreak as an excuse to seek his overthrow. "Because of cholera, Mr Brown, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Bush want military intervention," Mugabe said. "Let's tell them that the cholera cause doesn't exist any more."

"Shall we also say that [because] there is mad cow disease, there must be war, Britain must be invaded. Mr. Brown, your head must go for some medical correction," he added in Thursday's televised speech.

Mugabe's statement comes in the midst of one of the worst cholera epidemics in the recent history of Zimbabwe that saw over 16,000 cases reported and almost 800 people dead.