Latest News Editor's Choice

Opinion / Columnist

Doctors were very foolish to bow to Chiwenga demands - without PPE, still susceptible covid-19 military or civilian

13 Oct 2020 at 22:51hrs | Views
Zimbabwe is facing a serious economic crisis brought about by 40 years of gross mismanagement and rampant corruption. The economy has all but collapsed forcing unemployment rate to soar to nauseating heights of 90%, basic services like education and health care have collapsed and in 2019 34% of the population were already living in "extreme poverty", according to WB report.

When Mnangagwa seized power in the November 2017 military coup, he was cocksure his "Zimbabwe is open for business!" would open the floodgate of investors and kickstart the country's comatose economy. Investors are a savvy and shrewd lot; they could see that Zimbabwe was still a pariah state ruled by corrupt, incompetent, vote rigging and murderous thugs and so stayed away.

"Zimbabwe is open for business!" is dead in the water.

Worse still, it is crystal clear that this Zanu PF government has run out of ideas what to do to revive the economy.

When you are in a hole, stop digging! One would think that is obvious, but not to VP Constantino Chiwenga!
Trainee Doctors, just like nurses, teachers and other civil servants, have been on strike on and off for the last two decades; demanding a living wage and better working conditions. One of the consequences of a sick economy, is that government not collecting enough money in tax and other public revenue to pay civil servants a living wage and to maintain a decent education and health care services.

Instead of VP Chiwenga and his fellow Zanu PF cronies going back to the drawing board and think how else to revive the economy so government can pay the doctors, etc. a living wage; he, in his infantile wisdom has come up with a two pronged strategy:

a)    the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is reportedly recruiting over 400 medical doctors, radiographers and pharmacists, which is the total intake of graduate students the country.

b)    He has suspended the University of Zimbabwe's Masters of Medicine and Masters of Obstetrics and Gynaecology programmes and all striking student doctors have been banned from accessing public hospitals.

VP Chiwenga must be very pleased with himself because the striking doctors have not only ended the strike but have even apologised for having undertaken the strike action!

"I see people saying doctors bowed down to the General (Chiwenga)! Yes, we did! Why not? What options did we have? How long have we been fighting for better hospitals and salaries to no avail?" commented one striking doctor on twitter.

Actually, VP Chiwenga did not solve the health crisis no more than the striking doctors solved their living wage and decent working conditions demands by giving in to his arm-twisting and idiotic tactics.

As a rule of thumb, soldiers, Police and CIO are paid better wages and have better conditions of service than most civil servants – but of course, as befit a Police State! And so, the militarised doctors will be getting considerably better wages, at least, compared to civil servant counter-part.

As for getting a living wage, that will not happen until there is meaningful economic recovery. All VP Chiwenga has done is kick the can down the road. Are we to believe the same government that had failed to pay doctors a living wage from the Ministry of Health budget will now do so from the Ministry of Defence's budget?

Still, in the Army they will never need to go on strike. Zanu PF is always take good care of the soldiers, the regime is scarred stiff of the Army.   

Is ZNA going to recruit all the striking nurses too? Hospitals will not function without nurses.

Is the Ministry of Defence also going to takeover the repair and equipping of all the hospitals and clinics, which are in various stages of rot and decay after decades of underfunding? There is a lot that will have to be done to improve the conditions of service in our health care services. A hell of a lot!

The striking doctors may have called-off the strike and apologised to VP Chiwenga but they all know that be going back to the same poorly equipped hospitals without PPE, basic medicine, etc. And it will not take long before the country's 838% inflation erode the buying power of their new wages.

For the last 40 years we, the people of Zimbabwe, have allowed Zanu PF to ride roughshod over our freedoms, rights, hopes and dreams to appease the regime gaining very little gain, if anything at all. Even now with the nation's future balancing on the knife edge some people continue to pursue the discredited policy of appeasement! 

"What options did we have?" So, you think bowing to Chiwenga's idiotic demands was a better option! Without the proper PPE, for example, a military doctor is as just as susceptible to corona virus infection as a civilian doctor!!!

Source -
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.