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THE Health Service Board (HSB) has suspended the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) executive for allegedly inciting their colleagues to go on strike.
Four doctors at the helm of the ZHDA have been served with suspension letters for allegedly influencing members of their union to strike between October 2014 and February 2016.
ZHDA president Dr Fortune Nyamande, secretary, Dr Rusununguko Kanyongo, secretary general, Dr Gadzirai Makoni and vice-president Dr Hugh Manyere, were on Monday issued with letters of suspension without pay, with immediate effect.
They have been suspended for three months while the disciplinary committee carried out its investigations into the case.
The ZHDA has since resolved to take legal action and immediately mobilise doctors through its structures and affiliates for a nationwide solidarity campaign in support of the suspended doctors.
HSB spokesperson, Dr Nyasha Maravanyika said: “The four doctors are alleged to have been inciting members of the health service to engage in nationwide strikes. They also allegedly showed improper, threatening, insubordinate or discourteous behaviour. This occurred in a period from October 2014 to February 2016.”
“As we’re all aware that health is an essential service, in as much as workers (except those in the security sector) are allowed to go on strike, there are also regulations which also stop doctors from indulging in such.
“Section 65(3) clearly allows employees to engage in collective job action including the right to strike but there are Hippocratic oaths that govern professional doctors and call for them to consider people’s lives first before everything,” said Dr Maravanyika.
However, a statement by the ZHDA, issued to The Chronicle, yesterday, described the suspensions as “a desperate, total joke and a sign that the HSB is being run by people who have no clue of what the Zimbabwean constitution says regarding employee rights.” Section 65(3) clearly allows employees to engage in collective job action including the right to strike. What also raises stink in this matter is that the HSB has suspended the doctors’ representatives without subjecting them to a fair hearing, contravening section 69 of the constitution,” reads the statement.
“It’s also sad to see that the board also does not know that it is a public body that is subject to public scrutiny and calls by the ZHDA for transparency at the HSB is normal in a democracy like Zimbabwe. As the ZHDA, we totally condemn this childish behaviour by the HSB as illegal and unconstitutional,” read the statement.
“We reiterate our call that President Robert Mugabe dissolves this board as it has failed to discharge it’s duties in a professional manner. We also maintain that this board is highly ineffective and a waste of critical government resources.”
The statement read that the move to suspend the doctors’ leadership follows criticism by the doctors over the HSB’s inept leadership of the board coupled with corruption as unearthed by the Auditor General.
“We challenge the HSB to prove wrong the Auditor General’s report which says they are corrupt.”
Dr Nyamande told The Chronicle that the ZHDA was not happy with the route the board took in suspending the executive.
“As you’re well aware, I’m part of the suspended crew but we really can’t argue on that decision. We’re open for dialogue and we would appreciate if they give us a chance to speak out as well. We would like the HSB to outline where exactly we went wrong. They also should follow the internal procedures for all things to be fair,” he said.
ZHDA also resolved to seek audience with the Office of the President and Cabinet and seek the dissolution of the HSB, saying it has failed to discharge it’s duties in a professional manner.
“ZHDA shall call for a press conference on a date to be advised to apprise the nation on the state of affairs and the way forward on the matter,” said Dr Nyamande. – Source-chronicle