A cholera outbreak that has so far claimed at least 25 lives in Zimbabwe has forced the country's topmost institution of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe, to postpone its graduation ceremony which had been slated for Friday.
A statement from the university's acting vice chancellor Paul Mapfumo said on Friday that the ceremony would be held at a date to be announced. Police recently banned public gatherings to prevent the spread of cholera after the government declared the outbreak in Harare a state of emergency.
"While the deferment is purely on health grounds, beyond the control of the university, the institution, however, has had no reported case of cholera and is currently deemed safe," Mapfumo said.
The ceremony was due to be the first for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to cap University of Zimbabwe graduates.
At the last graduation ceremony in September 2017, then President Robert Mugabe capped more than 3,200 graduates.
Tendai Gomwe, a parent whose daughter was due to graduate on Friday, said although he understood the reasons for the postponement, it had come too late as he had made plans for celebrations. "The postponement came rather too late. We had made preparations for a party and had bought some foodstuffs," he said.
The government has closed down at least one school in south-west Harare to allow it to upgrade its sanitary facilities, while at least one school in Mashonaland Central Province which was due to hold an exhibition Friday cancelled the event.