THE country’s major hospitals have been struggling to cope with patients in the past week following a strike by doctors in solidarity with their missing colleague Peter Magombeyi, who had been allegedly abducted last Saturday.
Magombeyi was found in Nyabira on the outskirts of Harare on Thursday last week, after which the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) issued a statement expressing their willingness to engage their employer, albeit through a new platform.
All along, the ZHDA has been negotiating with their employer through the Health Apex Council which they feel has not been able to articulate their incapacitation.
Dialogue has always been treated as one of the most progressive methods of dealing with crises, but there is need for sincerity on the sides involved in the talks.
In this case, questions surrounding the disappearance of the doctor must all be answered so that those involved in the negotiations can be sure of their safety as well since the government has in the past had a knack of treating critics of its policies as enemies.
The starting point is for the government never to abrogate on its mandate to ensure the safety of all citizens of the country, whether they support the ruling party or the opposition.
Once that is clear, it means the government will be able to get to the bottom of the matter.
Zimbabweans need to know what happened to the doctor.
On the other hand, it is also hoped no group has taken advantage of what is happening to try and tarnish the image of the government for their own political expediency.
There have been accusations, especially from within government, that the Magombeyi case, and several others before it, were the work of a third force bent on soiling the image of the country’s administration.
If indeed it is the work of a third force, the government — through its various security arms — must be able to get to the bottom of the matter.
If the two sides meet to negotiate in an atmosphere of mistrust, chances are that the outcome of such negotiations may not be the intended one that will bring back hope in the generality of Zimbabweans.
When dialogue, or any other talks for that matter, are premised on truth, openness and honesty, the outcome is usually positive and is likely to produce lasting, win-win results.