Health Workers threaten to disrupt UZ graduation ceremony

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By Thandiwe Garusa

STRIKING health workers have threatened to disrupt this year’s University of Zimbabwe graduation set to be presided over by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday.

The workers in the country’s health delivery system have downed their tools protesting the abduction of Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president Peter Magombeyi.

Magombeyi was seized by three unknown men on Saturday and is still to be found.

Government says it has launched a manhunt for Magombeyi and claims there is a third hand in the spate of abductions that have rocked the country targeting human rights and political activists.

Health workers have been protesting since Monday demanding Magombeyi’s safe return but on Wednesday were stopped by anti-riot police as they sought to petition Parliament.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association organising secretary (Zina) Edwick Nhema from Chivhu said that it is hard for them to graduate when their leader is missing.

“It is difficult for us to graduate when Peter is not there. So we are saying ‘No Peter, No Graduation!’” said Nhema.

Nhema said Magombeyi had been receiving threatening phone calls from a certain number before he was seized.

“They called me and said we want to kill you then I circulated the audio on WhatsApp groups.

“I also escaped a kidnapping attempt after three armed men came to my place in Chivhu with intent to seize me. I then put my phone on auto-record and that is how I managed to have audios of their calls,” said Nhema.

“As I am standing here, my life is at risk. So we are saying government must top targeting us as union leaders. We have done nothing wrong to them. All we want is a descent salary.”

Nhema shared an audio in which he alleges he was being threatened with death.

A caller is heard: “Nhema you are still carrying on with your resistance right? Ok go to your meeting and we will meet between Chivhu and Harare that’s where you will die. Go on and resist, we are done with you.”