Mugabe: 'Now that there is no cholera, there is no cause for war'
BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe cholera is over - Mugabe (external - login to view)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has said there is no cholera in his country - as the United Nations warned the deadly epidemic was getting worse.
He also claimed Western powers were plotting to use cholera as an excuse to invade Zimbabwe and overthrow him.
"Now that there is no cholera there is no cause for war," Mr Mugabe said.
He spoke as a district in neighbouring South Africa was declared a disaster area because of the spreading disease, which has killed hundreds in Zimbabwe.
See detailed map of cholera-affected areas (external - login to view)
In a nationally televised speech, Mr Mugabe said: "I am happy to say our doctors are being assisted by others and the WHO [World Health Organization] and they have now arrested cholera."
He went on to denounce former colonial power Britain, as well as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President George W Bush, who both called earlier this week for the 84-year-old to quit.
"Because of cholera, Mr Brown, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Bush want military intervention," Mr Mugabe said. He added: "Let's tell them that the cholera cause doesn't exist anymore."
He spoke out in the capital, Harare, at a state funeral for senior ruling party official Elliot Manyika, who died in a car crash over the weekend.
Shortly after Mr Mugabe spoke, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the toll from the disease had risen slightly overnight to 783 and that 16,403 were believed to have been infected.
The WHO has warned that the total number of cases could reach 60,000 unless the epidemic was stopped.
Hundreds of Zimbabweans have crossed the border to seek medical treatment because Zimbabwe's health service and water supply infrastructure have virtually collapsed.
President Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been deadlocked in power-sharing negotiations for several months.
Mr Mugabe also said in Thursday's speech: "Shall we also say that [because] there is mad cow disease, there must be war, Britain must be invaded. Mr Brown, your head must go for some medical correction."
"We are not a threat to international peace, not a threat to our region," he added.
There has been growing international pressure recently for Mr Mugabe to step down.
Britain has led calls for Mr Mugabe to go. African countries like Botswana and Kenya have also said he should step down, but South Africa has refused to call on Mr Mugabe to quit.
And the 53-member African Union said on Tuesday the only solution to Zimbabwe's crisis was the power-sharing talks.
On Monday, European Union nations ramped up the diplomatic pressure on Zimbabwe's government, broadening sanctions on President Mugabe and his inner circle.
Mr Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed a power-sharing deal in September but talks on forming a unity government have stalled as both sides bicker over how to divide control of key ministries.
South Africa, led by former President Thabo Mbeki, has been mediating the negotiations but the MDC has accused him of not putting enough pressure on Mr Mugabe to share power.
The MDC seized a majority in parliament in March elections, when the opposition leader defeated Mugabe in a first round presidential vote.
Mr Tsvangirai pulled out of a June run-off, accusing Mr Mugabe's party of orchestrating a wave of political violence.
Two days ago I seen video a reporter smuggled out of the country showing people lying out on the streets, the hospitals have stopped accepting new patients, doctors throwing their hands in the air and walking away, and even doctors getting sick as well..... among much much more....
Now either Mug pulled some super magical trick to heal everybody in 2 or so days, or he is lying his face off like normal.
If there was any justification for military intervention in the last 8-10 years, this would be one of the top justifications if you ask me.