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Zimbabwe Nurses End Three-Month Strike Over Pay

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Zimbabwe Nurses End Three-Month Strike Over Pay

Zimbabwe nurses union has asked its striking members to return to work.  The nurses went on strike three months ago over a pay dispute.

The biggest nurses union-the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA), which has more than 16,000 members, called for the strike to force president Emmerson Mnanagwa’s government to pay salaries in U.S. dollars.  The government has said it is unable to do so.

The union said on Wednesday it was encouraging its members to end the strike action which has forced major hospitals to turn away patients at a time the country is fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

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The strike by nurses and senior doctors has crippled public hospitals.  Non-emergency patients were being turned away and some babies were stillborn because of inadequate medical care.

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enoch Dongo said nurses would give vice president Constantino Chiwenga a chance to resolve the dispute.  Chiwenga, appointed health minister last month, has said the government would soon table a pay offer for the health sector and stop paying medical bills for cabinet ministers and senior officials who seek treatment abroad to save on scarce foreign exchange.

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Dongo told Reuters.”when you have a crisis sometimes you need to give people a chance to resolve it. After sometime we will review this decision,” adding that “so we are telling our members to report for work but only if they have transport money and if there is PPE in hospitals.”

Dongo said the lowest paid nurse earned 6,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($73) in salary and allowances monthly. The state statistical agency says an average family of five needs at least 15,573 Zimbabwe dollars to be not considered poor.

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Zimbabweans are growing impatient with Mnangagwa, who promised to revive the economy when he took over from Robert Mugabe after a coup in 2017. Mnangagwa says the economy is being sabotaged the opposition and some western countries.

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Bah Ndaw Sworn In As Mali’s Transitional President Following Coup

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Bah Ndaw Sworn In As Mali’s Transitional President Following Coup

Mali’s new interim president Bah Nda`w has been sworn into office today, Friday at a ceremony in the nation`s capital, Bamako.  The former defence minister and retired army colonel was picked by coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections are held. Colonel Assimi Goita, will serve as deputy president.

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Nda`w said, in his inauguration speech, that he will end militant insurgency in the country’s north and stop organized crime.

The military junta in Mali took over power and forced Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta out of office five weeks ago. ECOWAS leaders have overseen negotiations for a return to democracy.  The appointment of a civilian president was a condition for the west African regional group, ECOWAS, to lift the sanctions it earlier imposed after the coup.

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Mali leaders are hoping ECOWAS will lift sanctions on the country after the inauguration. The new government is expected to be in office for a transition period of 18 months that will lead to an election.

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