PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed Vice President Constantino as new Health Minister following the recent sacking of substantive minister Obadiah Moyo over his alleged involvement in a drug tender scandal.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda announced Chiwenga’s appointment in a statement Tuesday evening.
“In terms of Section 99 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (no.20) Act 2013, His Excellency the President Cde E.D Mnangagwa has appointed Honourable Vice President Dr C.D.N Chiwenga as Minister of Health and Child Care,” Sibanda said.
“In making the decision, His Excellency has noted the urgent need to stabilise, restructure and reform the national health delivery to better cope with the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic and in the process ensure a quick turnaround in national health care. The appointment is with immediate effect.”
This means Chiwenga will double as VP and minister.
Chiwenga’s appointment follows that of Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza, the former Director-General Health Services for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces as permanent secretary in the ministry on Monday.
This also means the ministry is now being headed by two former military bosses as the VP was once Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander before he was elevated to government after he spearheaded a 2017 military coup that dethroned the now late former President Robert Mugabe.
Chiwenga takes over a near limping health delivery system that has seen health staff down tools over poor wages and government’s reluctance to provide them with Personal Protective Clothing to survive a rampaging coronavirus pandemic that has affected over 3 000 locals with hospitals being among the most dangerous places in terms of potential threat to be infected.
The VP however does not have the best of relations with local health staff after he summarily sacked 16 000 nurses for defying government directives to end their wage strike in 2018.
Related: Chiwenga Fires All Striking Nurses
The nurses were later reinstated.
The VP has also come under fire for his military style handling of a prolonged strike by junior doctors last year.
He later delivered a speech in which he harangued the medical staff.
Chiwenga’s frequenting of Chinese hospitals to get treatment from chronic ailment also highlights the top government official’s apparent lack of confidence in Zimbabwean health facilities.
Before his appointment, Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira was acting as Health and Child Care Minister.
Chiwenga speech on striking doctors: