Zimbabwe’s government has reportedly diverted funds intended to purchase new vehicles for the new cabinet ministers and lawmakers, and “channelled the money towards fighting the cholera epidemic”.

The country’s finance minister Mthuli Ncube confirmed the austerity measures, saying that at least $15m which was to be used to buy the new vehicles was now going towards alleviating the cholera outbreak, which has killed more than 30 people and infected at least 7 000.

Ncube recently launched an online crowdfunding initiative to help the southern African country to raise $64m needed to fight the outbreak.

The finance minister’s tweet pleading for crowdfunding generated a lot of criticism from Zimbabweans, according to News24.

“That is exactly what we have done. This $15 million that the government has paid is exactly that. We have had to suspend certain things to make sure that we deal with this endemic immediately. That is exactly what we have done,” Ncube was quoted as saying by NewsDay.

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Government was likely to spend more than $20m to buy new vehicles for the 350 legislators, said the report.

Ncube said more was needed to be done in terms of creating immediate and long-term solutions to the cholera scourge.

The latest development came amid reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the cholera outbreak epicentre on Wednesday.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, Mnangagwa said the government was mobilising more resources to fight the scourge, and was now fixing water reservoirs.

“Cholera figures are decreasing. We are mobilising funds to repair all pipes from Morton Jeffrey (water works) to all the suburbs here in Harare. We have many organisations which include the United Nations Children’s Funds (Unicef) and the MSF (medicines Sans Frontiers) Zimbabwe who are helping with so many needs,” said Mnangagwa.

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