By Anna Chibamu
ZIMBABWE’s striking medical practitioners will still not return to work even after their colleague and Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president Peter Magombeyi who had been reported abducted was finally found unharmed.
Magombeyi was reportedly seized by suspected State security agents a week ago and resurfaced unhurt five days later.
His colleagues within the medical field embarked on a crippling protest action demanding his safe return, abandoning their jobs with patients paying the price.
The strike had also been joined by other health workers with issues around review of working conditions in the sector also top of their grievances.
Acting ZHDA deputy president Masimba Ndoro, in an interview with newzimbabwe.com on Saturday, warned that Magombeyi’s return did not mean the end of the standoff with government.
“We as ZHDA representing the junior and middle level doctors have been subsidising the government for far too long to such an extent that we have been taking loans and borrowing to be able to report for duty consistently. This was in the hope that the employer was going to address our needs. We are not on strike but we are incapacitated to report for duty,” said Ndoro.
“We would want to have negotiations with our employer so that we resolve the impasse that is there. On Monday we will have a solidarity meeting to map the way forward with regards to the situation. We believe the mood is now ready for dialogue with the employer taking into consideration that lives are lost when such industrial actions happen.”
Regarding a call by government to go back to work while negotiations are taking place, Ndoro warned that an angry doctor is a threat to patients.
“We clearly love our patients and our jobs but an angry doctor is a hazard to the patient. So we urge government to take this seriously and address this impasse urgently.
“We are not so sure when we will be back at work. There is need for tangible negotiations with the employer on a separate platform whereby we clearly come up with solutions,” added Ndoro.
According to the ZHDA deputy president, Magombeyi’s abduction and return did not address the incapacitation and destitution doctors are currently facing nationwide.
Magombeyi, a medical practitioner and acting president of ZHDA, was allegedly abducted by three men and went missing for almost a week before being dumped at Nyabira, outside Harare late Thursday.