The IoS Christmas Appeal: Mugabe tightens grip as cholera epidemic grows

With Zimbabwe ravaged by a disease it is ill-equipped to tackle, its President is ignoring last year's deal with the opposition and putting together a new government

Ignoring a worsening cholera epidemic, economic collapse and a power-sharing agreement signed in September, President Robert Mugabe is starting to form a new government in Zimbabwe without the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), according to state media.

Mr Mugabe has cleared the way for a new cabinet by firing a dozen ministers and their deputies, all from his Zanu-PF party, who lost their seats in the parliamentary election last March, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper. It quoted the presidential spokesman, George Charamba, yesterday as saying: "President Mugabe has already started preparing an administration." But Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, who is supposed to become Prime Minister under the deal signed on 15 September, refuses to take office until more talks are held on the allocation of cabinet posts. The opposition party wants the Home Ministry, which controls the police, but has been offered only minor posts.

The US says it will no longer support a unity government headed by Mr Mugabe, while Britain has called for him to step down. And as the wrangling continues with Mr Tsvangirai, who has spent most of the past few weeks in Botswana, Zimbabwe has descended into further misery.

All of the country's 10 provinces are now affected by an accelerating cholera outbreak, with nearly 1,000 new cases reported on 31 December alone, bringing the total to more than 32,000. Last week the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 1,608 deaths from cholera, but many suspect the toll is far higher. The disintegration of Zimbabwe's health service is such that it is feared large numbers of people are dying beyond the reach of treatment, and the rainy season could spread the epidemic further, according to a senior international Red Cross official.

Quoting WHO estimates that the number of cholera cases and deaths could double to 60,000 and 3,000 respectively over the next three months, Françoise Le Goff of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: "The worst could be heavy rains, causing not only this cholera to spread, but floods. It means that the water level will cover the fields, that the crops are destroyed, that people cannot travel or we cannot have access to the area."

One aid worker described the situation at a remote clinic in an area that has had 283 cholera cases and 16 deaths. "All 22 new cases are from one village, which has no toilets," she said. "The borehole is not working, so people are using unprotected water sources. There is no road between the village and the health centre, and a river is flooded by the rain, preventing cholera victims being moved to the clinic." Save the Children helped to transport three critical cases, but the rest were being treated on the spot, posing a threat to the rest of the village. Only one health worker out of four was on duty, because they had not been paid and could find no food.

The Independent on Sunday Christmas Appeal has raised £44,738 to date for the work of Save the Children in Zimbabwe, and we thank all our readers for their generosity. We will publish the final total when it becomes available later this month.

The appeal is now closed, but donations to Save the Children can still be made by clicking here

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little