Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tenuous agreement and cholera

from PBS Newshour:

Tenuous Zimbabwe Government Deal Approved as Cholera Crisis Worsens

In the midst of an escalating cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, a summit on a power-sharing deal decided Tuesday that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be sworn in as prime minister by Feb. 11.
Cholera patient in clinic in Zimbabwe; AP

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party voiced skepticism about the agreement on Tuesday, but he told South African newspaper The Star "Everyone agrees that, subject to the clearing of all the issues that are outstanding, a coalition government can be formed."

Tsvangirai said negotiators would meet in Harare on Thursday to try to resolve those issues, including distribution of cabinet posts and the control of security agencies.

Tsvangirai's comments contradicted more negative assessments from other members of his party, feeding reports of a rift in the MDC.

"There seem to be internal struggles in the MDC which presents Tsvangirai with a challenge, though it's likely he will prevail over the hawks in his party," Eldred Masunungure, a politics professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News....

The political crisis has contributed to the breakdown of water, sanitation and health systems, allowing conditions for the bacterial illness cholera, which spreads through contaminated water. The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that the death toll for the cholera outbreak that began in August has now passed 3,000.

actually, complaints about the Harare water system goes back about three years, so you can't blame it on the political problems...if you don't fix leaking pipes, and don't stop holes in sewers, you do tend to get disease...

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