By Mary Taruvinga
BUSINESSMAN Kudakwashe Tagwirei and his Sakunda Holdings have taken over jailed Zanu PF ex-MP Munyaradzi Kereke’s upmarket hospital in Harare’s Mt Pleasant suburb with claims the facility will only admit top government and other well-heeled coronavirus patients.
This has sparked a protest from the opposition MDC which has watched the Zanu PF led government sit back in the past in terms of upgrading the country’s battered health facilities while its officials sought treatment abroad.
Former Harare mayor, Ben Manyenyeni said on his Facebook page that an exclusive medical facility for politically-connected individuals was being established at the Rock Foundation Medical Centre.
“I have just been to the former Rock Foundation Medical facility in Mt Pleasant. I know the place well enough – it is in our municipal,” he said.
“They advised that they are not open – not operating. What they told me is very different from today’s body language of the place itself – that I know well enough and can state confidently. There’s stuff happening in there!
“The message of an exclusive medical facility for the politically-connected (or the elites) does not sit well with ordinary citizens of Zimbabwe – especially at this point in time. But private healthcare is private healthcare there is no need to be secretive about providing it. That said, any life saved is a life saved and any new medical offering is a welcome addition to the unfolding crisis,” the MDC official said.
Zimbabwe only has two infectious diseases isolation centres in Harare’s Wilkins and Bulawayo’s Thorngrove hospitals.
These have been open to all Zimbabweans but have rarely been patronised by the affluent who sought better medical care abroad.
Unlike cholera and typhoid which have generally been diseases for the poor, Zimbabwe’s elite now stare the sad reality of having to seek treatment locally as world countries have become no-go zones for visitors from other nations, let alone those seeking treatment for Covid-19.
The clumsy handling of now late Zororo Makamba’s case at Wilkins was laid bare and was a shocking precursor to what could befall the elite when the disease finally catches up with them.
There were no miscellaneous and other crucial facilities such as adaptors to run machines at the medical facility.
Makamba was the country’s second Covid-19 confirmed case but became the first death incident from the dreaded disease.
Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings is now spearheading the setup of a better hospital.
MDC lawyer Thabani Mpofu condemned the idea and vowed to resist it.
“I will march to this private looters clinic and open its doors to the masses. We have had enough of this nonsense and the time to put it to an end is now,” he said.
“Coronavirus is more dangerous than a bullet. Join me as we liberate our people, I will lead,” said Mpofu.
However, repeated efforts to get a comment Minister Moyo were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered while he did not respond to WhatsApp messages sent to him.
“The minister is in a meeting and you can call after two hours,” his aide said at one point.