The Sunday News
WHILE doctors and their fellow colleagues might have their concerns pertaining to their conditions of service and other issues, we however, maintain that they have an obligation to respond to their call of duty.
The Government was last week forced to deploy medical professionals from the uniformed forces to avert a possible disruption of services at public hospitals by doctors who boycotted work following the alleged kidnapping of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) acting president Dr Peter Magombeyi.
Dr Magombeyi however, resurfaced on Thursday night reportedly unharmed, although he was soon put through medical procedures. What should be noted is that his said abduction raised a lot of questions, as it smacked a stage managed act, aimed at tarnishing the image of the Government.
In that vein, delivering a State of the Nation Address on Friday, President Mnangagwa noted that a lot of lives were lost when doctors decided to down tools, something that should not be allowed to occur in future.
“Equally, Government was not impressed at all by the way medical staff, as organised labour, responded to this political act of propaganda trickery. Reports on hand indicate innocent lives were gambled with, affected and even lost, as our medical staff who must provide an essential service, abandoned post in solidarity with the so-called missing staffer. While the “missing” person has been found, precious lives already harmed or lost are either permanently incapacitated or lost forever. It is very sad, indeed a poor reflection, on a profession of such standing, and on its commitment to the unique oath that binds it.
“As we reflect on this sad turn of events, the least our medical staff can do now is to return to their work stations without any further delay, and to restore and resume vital services to all those in desperate need of them. The appropriate, professional response to reports of any missing persons should never take the form that endangers more lives, all of them innocent. Now is the time for our medical staff to retrieve their collective conscience and to restate their commitment to the very oath that makes their profession sacred. As I said, Government is looking at improving their working conditions, including revamping our entire health delivery services, through significant investments which are already evident. But the yearly cycle of labour instability and indiscipline in the medical sector must come to an end.”
It remains unclear how the alleged abduction took place and who was behind it, although the Government said a third force could be involved in the alleged abduction. In addition, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza told journalists that while employees had a right to demonstrate, there were set procedures that are supposed to be followed.
“They have the right to demonstrate, however, there are processes of negotiations that need to be followed because they represent the essential services meaning that we put the lives of patients first. So I would encourage them, very strongly, that this is a situation where we must consider the lives of the patients first,” said Minister Nzenza.
Zanu-PF secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists after the Politburo meeting last week that it was sad that the barbaric act coincided with the visit to Zimbabwe of United Nations Special Rapporteur, Mr Clement Nyaletsossi Voule who arrived in the country last Monday.
Critically, the alleged kidnapping also came ahead of the United Nations General Assembly slated for New York this week, which President Mnangagwa is attending. This has raised suspicion that the alleged kidnap reports were well-timed to tarnish the country’s image.
The Politburo’s remarks came as the Zanu-PF youth wing suspects the MDC-Alliance and some Western embassies were behind the abduction of Dr Magombeyi, in a desperate bid to hurt the reputation of Government and the ruling party.