Tendai Kamhungira 12 March 2017
HARARE – A group of visiting specialist Indian doctors was forced to
cancel high profile meetings with their Zimbabwean counterparts when
police arrested them moments after arriving in the country on Thursday for
allegedly practicing without licences.
The incident came just a few weeks after President Robert Mugabe’s
government scrambled to avoid a diplomatic row with India following
utterances by Zanu PF Harare province political commissar and MP –
Shadreck Mashayamombe who called on government to deport Indians residing
in the country – on charges that they were denying locals economic
Prominent local doctor Vivek Solanki yesterday told the Daily News On
Sunday that the Indian doctors were wrongly arrested because they were not
seeing any patients.
“They were not seeing any patients but had come to chat with my doctors,
view my new clinic and pay condolences on the loss of my mother. We have
lost all leverage and respect of the Indians and they will never come back
and will spread this bad adventure far and wide.
“What the medical registrar has done is treasonous… to say the least. I
am extremely ashamed and devastated with this event at this juncture of
our economy. Our own institutions are sabotaging much-needed development
in the health sector,” Solanki said.
He accused Josephine Mwakutuya, the Medical and Dental Council of Zimbabwe
registrar, for causing the “unlawful” arrest and humiliation of the
However, Mwakutuya said she had acted in terms of the law, accusing
Solanki of having sent an SMS to all doctors to bring their patients so
that they could be seen by cardiologists and orthopaedic surgeons.
She said that she acted using powers vested in her in terms of Section 74
of the Health Professions Act to stop the doctors from practicing without
Mwakutuya said even though Solanki said he was acting in terms of Section
129, which states that any foreign doctor can treat a patient in Zimbabwe
without a registration as long as he is invited by the patient, he was
obliged for ethical reasons to inform the regulating council in case
something bad happened to the patients.
Mwakutuya said when she visited Solanki’s Trauma Centre, there was a
patient who was being attended to, while the doctors reportedly claimed
that they were on Continuous Professional Development.
But an angry Solanki insisted that the Indian doctors’ visit was intended
at exploring possibilities of investing in Zimbabwe by building hospitals.
“They wanted to meet with local doctors and some of their patients to
better understand the disease patterns in Zimbabwe. They were not here to
consult patients… This was part of the Indian High Commissioner and
Speaker (Jacob) Mudenda’s effort to attract foreign Indian investment in
the health sector,” he said, adding that it was agreed that they would
come to Trauma Centre, Borrowdale to do this.
He accused Mwakutuya of coming to the hospital shouting before calling the
police to arrest the Indian doctors within seconds of their arrival –
saying he had captured the whole incident on camera.
“The Indian doctors were chatting to (Dr) Brian Paketh our local
orthopaedic surgeon and no patient was there… she shouted at the police
to arrest them making a big fuss and disturbing other patients who were
there to see the dentist, physio etc who had nothing to do with the Indian
visit,” he said.
“At 20:30pm they were released and they came to complain to me about how
they were humiliated and will never come back and would spread the news
“They even had to cancel a dinner they were hosting at the Venue in
Avondale where they were meeting more Zimbabwean doctors to gauge the need
for new hospitals needed in Zimbabwe,” fumed Solanki.
The specialist doctors left on Friday without fulfilling their mission.