BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday threatened to “deal” with striking doctors, claiming they were being paid by unknown organisations to continue with their job boycott.
Doctors at government hospitals have been on strike since September demanding salaries pegged in United States dollars and improved working conditions.
Mnangagwa told a Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators (Ziliwaco) meeting in Harare that doctors had spurned all government efforts to improve their salaries.
He said he now had intelligence that the ring leaders of the crippling strike were being paid.
“We were told by our security agents that there are some people, who are being paid to strike, but the rest were just following,” he said.
“We saw the church bishops together with my vice presidents and we gave them a 48 hour moratorium to come back to work without any questions but only 46 doctors heeded the call.”
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba last week accused human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart of facilitating payments for the striking doctors.
The allegations were first made by people running ghost accounts on Twitter who often target government critics on social media. Coltart has since dismissed the allegations as baseless
Mnangagwa said some doctors that he met last week also told them they were influenced by Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association leaders to go on strike.
“Two days ago we met some of the doctors they told us that they were influenced by others to go on strike and they told me that they have discovered that they were being used by their colleagues who were getting the money to go on strike but we will deal with them soon,” he said.
State media last week said some doctors claimed the ZDHA had been “captured” by foreign organisations.
The doctors now fear the allegations could be used as an excuse to launch a clampdown against them.
In September when the doctors went on strike, ZDHA acting president Peter Magombeyi was abducted by suspected state security agents.
In the past, Mnangagwa has threatened to deal with doctors and lawyers that assist activists during anti-government protests.
Meanwhile, Ziliwaco leader Pupurai Togarepi urged Mnangagwa to fire all civil servants that do not want to work with Zanu PF.
The Zanu PF youth league boss said Mnangagwa must work with those who believe in his vision and must dismiss those against the party’s vision.
Mnangagwa, however, seemed to be brushing aside Togarepi’s suggestion, saying he would work with everyone he inherited from the late Robert Mugabe.
“If you arrived at home and found several dogs some of which are not yours just take them and go hunting because no one knows whose owners they are,” he said.
“We will continue to use them because they are at my home.”
Some Zanu PF provincial structures want the ruling party conference set for Goromonzi next week to adopt a policy that will force civil servants to show loyalty to Mnangagwa.