PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, his deputy Joice Mujuru, the health minister and his deputy all snubbed invitations to officiate at the opening of Munyaradzi Kereke’s medical centre in Harare on Thursday night.
The snub was a huge blow to Kereke, who has previously tried to enlist Mugabe in his vicious war with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, his former boss.
The event went ahead with Kereke’s pal and CEO of Chitungwiza Central Hospital Dr Obadiah Moyo being drafted in as the guest of honour.
Kereke, who was launching the multi-million dollar Rockford Foundation Hospital, reached out to President Mugabe several months ago, but was told earlier last week that the Zanu PF leader was “too busy”, according to government sources.
The former Reserve Bank adviser then extended an invitation to Mujuru, but she told him she would only attend if the invitation came through the health ministry – but Kereke talked himself into the bad books of both the Health Minister Henry Madzorera and his deputy, Douglas Mombeshora.
Two months ago, Kereke claimed Madzorera had tried to sabotage his hospital – because the minister has his own clinic nearby. Madzorera strongly refuted the charge, insisting he has no role in the licensing or regulation of health facilities.
A source explained: “Kereke then turned to Mombeshora, who actually holds him in contempt after he claimed in a letter to Mugabe that Gono had an affair with his wife, who works at the RBZ. Mombeshora told him he was down at his farm and could not make it.
“For Kereke, his failure to get his first choice VIPs to event is a major blow. He projects himself as a very connected guy; he claims to have held a couple of meetings with Mugabe and also boasts of his closeness to securocrats, especially top police chiefs.
“He saw this as an opportunity to make a statement to Gono, to say ‘look who I deal with and at what level’.”
Former health minister Timothy Stamps, Senate President Edna Madzongwe and Labour Minister Paurina Mpariwa were some of the notable political figures to attend.
Kereke told guests that he had met “considerable obstacles” while building the 26-bed hospital which he said was a “dream come true”.