Protesting doctors in Byo say ‘emotionally drained’ by colleague’s abduction

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

DOZENS of doctors and other health staff mainly from Mpilo and United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) Monday staged their own demonstration to demand the release of abducted union leader Peter Mugombeyi.

Magombeyi, who is acting Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), was allegedly seized from his Harare home Sunday by some unknown men suspected to be state security agents.

ZHDA, under Magombeyi’s leadership, has been calling for a pay strike.

The placard waving demonstrators gathered at the doctors quarters where they were addressed by the association‘s outgoing secretary general Mthabisi Bhebhe.

“Bring Dr Peter Magombeya! No Peter No work,” read some of the posters.

Addressing the demonstrators, Bhebhe vowed to continue with the strike until Magombeya was released.

“We are demanding the immediate release of Dr Magombeya. When he is released, he should be paid an adequate salary. If there is no salary increment after his release, we will continue with the strike,” he said.

Bhebhe said Magombeya’s adduction has emotionally drained the doctors.

“The government‘s latest attack on our colleague has made it impossible for us to continue reporting for work because we do not have that emotional strength to come to work for a government that does not appreciate our efforts,” said Bhebhe.

He decried the continued violation of human rights by the government.

“Some people are saying we are now being selfish. No, we are not being selfish. Do you know that right now about 23 citizens are being charged for trying to subvert the government? We do not know whether this is true or not but these are just mere citizens.

“So this is an attack not just on doctors but to the general citizens. People have been dying anyway whether coming to work or not. People’s rights are being violated every day. People have been beaten up,” he said.

Several government critics, including a comedienne and a teachers’ union leader, have in recent weeks been abducted from their homes, tortured and warned by their captors against confronting the government.