THE strike by junior doctors at public hospitals is justified and government must honour its pledge and pay them, opposition MDC-T leader Nelson Chamisa has said.
He made the remarks at Harare Central Hospital after touring the health facility to assess the impact of the job action on patients, who he said were dying in large numbers because of lack of care.
Doctors have been on strike for almost two weeks over low salaries, on call allowances, poor working conditions and lack of essential drugs among other reasons.
“It is a justifiable and justified action because they have not been given what is due to them,” said Chamisa.
“The Fact that we have a government that is playing truancy and is turning a blind eye to the situation and this predicament clearly shows that we have people who are heartless, people who don’t have sensitivity to the plight of the majority of our people.”
He said the health crisis in the country was a manifestation of a governance and leadership crisis adding that the Zanu PF administration had its priorities wrong.
“It’s a skewed arrangement of priorities and you can’t tell the world that Zimbabwe is open for business when Zimbabwe is not open for health.
“You can’t tell the world that Zimbabwe is open for business when Zimbabwe is not open for life. Let us look at our priorities.”
The “biggest business was the business of life but in Zimbabwe it was now shut down because” the government that was “blind to the wishes of its people and deaf to the cries of the doctors.
“There is a leadership crisis in the country,” said the MDC-T leader.
“The fact that you have your junior doctors who have not been paid; who are getting a palm tree salary of about 300 dollars which is less than a cleaner or sweeper at ZESA is a travesty of justice.”
Resources are abundant
President Emmerson Mnangagwa should not hide behind former predecessor Robert Mugabe as the new Zanu PF leader was also part of the Mugabe regime.
“You can’t blame Mugabe as if the present government was not part of Mugabe. It is the same system,” said Chamisa.
“The fact that they are blaming Mugabe is the reason why they should vacate office immediately. They must be honourable enough and say we have failed because Mugabe’s 37 years of rule are also part of Mnangagwa’s 37 years of failure and this is what he wants to repeat.”
He continued; “The government should simply be frank enough to say there is no leadership.
“Where there is no money there is no leadership because resources are abundant. We had $15 billion disappearing; nothing has been done to bring the people to book.
“We know the corruption in government; we know the expensive lifestyles that are led by ministers. Ministers drive expensive cars, people in government drive expensive cars … it’s clearly a matter of priority.
An MDC-T government would deal with the health crisis in the country as the party has a plan for a better Zimbabwe.
“We need to make sure that we deal with this problem and we deal with it once and for all,” Chamisa insisted.
“This is why we are calling on government to be serious if the crisis is beyond them; beyond their capacity they must simply be frank enough to the people of Zimbabwe but also to the government-in-waiting to say that we are overwhelmed please help us.
“We are ready to deal with these issues because we have the answers and solutions to such problems in terms of our health policy.”