A New Mood Of Public Anger Hits Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is on the boil. The government has, at last, acknowledged that a cholera outbreak is an emergency — but there's a new mood of public anger.

This week alone, the capital Harare witnessed soldiers and riot police clashing. And a protest march by doctors and nurses — over the collapse of the health sector — was violently broken up. Inflation is sky-high. Food and clean water are in short supply. And the nation's leaders are still battling over how to share power.

Zimbabwe's neighbors and other African leaders are deeply concerned by the crisis. They have said little publicly about the power struggle between the political rivals — prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai and veteran President Robert Mugabe until now.

Kenya's Prime Minister Raila Odinga says the problem lies firmly with Mugabe.

"Power sharing is dead in Zimbabwe. It will not work with a dictator who does not really believe in power sharing. Therefore, it is time for African governments to take decisive action to push Mugabe out of power," he says.

On Thursday, Zimbabwe declared a national cholera emergency and appealed for international help to pay for food and drugs. The United Nations says that, since August, the number of suspected cholera cases is almost 13,000, with nearly 600 deaths.

"The time is now for Mugabe to exit ... because people are dying of cholera ... people are dying of hunger," Odinga says.

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