Tsvangirai sworns in as PM under Zimbabwe unity gov't deal

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday under a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai sworns in as PM under Zimbabwe unity gov't deal

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday under a power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe.

The two agreed to share power last year to end political deadlock, but their mistrust and continued disagreements have raised questions over how well they can work together to rescue the ruined southern African country.

Tsvangirai, 56, took the oath of office administered by Mugabe at a ceremony in Harare.

The opposition leader won a first round presidential poll against Mugabe last year but boycotted a subsequent run-off over electoral violence.

Implementation of the power-sharing deal only came after increased pressure from southern African countries, fearing a total meltdown in once-prosperous Zimbabwe.

Mugabe has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980. Tsvangirai is a former trade union leader known for fiery speeches, but his leadership skills in government remain untested.

Tsvangirai will face spreading cholera and serious economic turmoil which get people worst under food crisis.

Zimbabweans hope the new government will bring policies to revive a country suffering hyper-inflation, unemployment above 90 percent, food shortages and a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 3,500 people.

Economic turmoil

Tsvangirai on Tuesday appointed Tendai Biti to be finance minister in a unity government and said he would focus on creating economic stability and attracting foreign investment

"This (finance) ministry's mandate is to create a stable economic environment for all Zimbabweans ... and to establish Zimbabwe as a strong investment centre," Tsvangirai told a news conference shortly after appointing Biti as finance minister.

South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Sunday said Zimbabwe could adopt the rand, but did not give details on the proposal.

Zimbabwe's central bank revalued its dollar several times to try tame hyperinflation and avert economic collapse.

More than half of Zimbabwe is surviving on food aid and the population is also struggling with the world's highest inflation rate of over 231 million percent as of July last year.

Suffering Cholera

The World Health Organisation said the epidemic has killed 3,397 people out of 69,317 cases since August, the deadliest outbreak in Africa in 15 years.

Zimbabwe's health system has collapsed under an economic crisis that has left eight in 10 people out of employment in the once prosperous country. Poor medical facilities and sanitation have helped spread the cholera.

More than half of Zimbabwe is surviving on food aid and the population is also struggling with the world's highest inflation rate of over 231 million percent as of July last year.


Reuters

Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2009, 23:21
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