Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa denies rift with deputy

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Emmerson Mnangagwa

ZIMBABWE’S  President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said there is no rift with his deputy and has dismissed rumours of a possible coup in January when he was out of the country following a security service crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Mnangagwa said in comments published on Friday by the privately owned weekly Zimbabwe Independent and daily NewsDay that there was no evidence of a rift between him and vice-president Constantino Chiwenga, the retired general who led a coup against Robert Mugabe in 2017.

‘I have known Chiwenga and his colleagues [in the military] since the struggle years. We are comrades and understand each other better than you think,’ the president said, referring to the struggle for independence against Britain.

Zimbabwe’s umbrella public-sector union has backed down from plans for a national strike, an official said on Thursday, citing the volatile situation in the country after violent protests this month were met by a security crackdown.

But the main teachers’ union said on Thursday that it was going ahead with a work stoppage from February 5, saying the country’s Apex Council is split between the education sector on one side and the rest of the civil service on the other.

The government’s 305,000 workers are demanding wage rises and payments in dollars to help stave off spiralling inflation and an economic crisis that has sapped supplies of cash, fuel and medicines in state hospitals.

A three-day strike called by another union from January 14 over a sharp fuel price hike by Mnangagwa turned violent with looting. Rights groups say at least 12 people were killed but police say only three died.

 

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