HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe on Saturday accused the West of waging biological warfare to deliberately start a cholera epidemic that has killed hundreds of people and sickened thousands.
The spread of the disease has focused the world's attention on the southern African nation's spectacular collapse.
The claims in state media came the same day the government issued an official announcement detailing the constitutional amendment creating the post of prime minister. The announcement also set out other changes necessary to go forward with a power-sharing agreement that has been stalled since September.
Saturday's unilateral step by President Robert Mugabe's government could raise political tensions in the battered southern African country
The state-run Herald newspaper said comments by American officials that the United States had been preparing for the outbreak raised suspicions.
The government's stranglehold on most sources of news makes such rhetoric an important tool for a regime struggling to hold on to power.
After the first cholera cases, U.S. and other aid workers braced for the waterborne disease to spread quickly in an economically ravaged country where the sewage system and medical care have fallen apart.
Zimbabwe also faces a hunger crisis, the world's highest inflation and shortages of both the most basic necessities and the cash to buy them.