- “Some thought that the VP was thrown at the deep end when he was appointed Health minister, but it was the opposite, the deep end was thrown to him...”
Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga has been described as the most suitable person to run the Health ministry despite fears from his critics that the retired army genetal was militarising the fragile healthcare sector.
Mnangagwa appointed Chiwenga as Health minister on August 5 following the dismissal of Obadiah Moyo after he was implicated in a US$60 million COVID-19 tender scam involving Drax International and members of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s family.
Chiwenga last week ordered that junior doctors should join the Zimbabwe Defence Forces upon graduation, although government later distanced itself from the proclamation by the Health Services Board.
The conscription, seen as a way of stopping doctors from striking, came after he also introduced stringent rules that will see the State taking charge in signing off the poorly remunerated doctors who want to leave the country for greener pastures.
But local government Minister July Moyo, during Chiwenga’s visit to Ekusileni Medical Centre where the IAM4Byo Fighting COVID-19 Trust donated hospital beds, mattresses, bed side cabinets, drip stands, foot stools, and cardiac tables and dressing trolleys, among others, heaped praise on the VP.
“Some thought that the VP was thrown at the deep end when he was appointed Health minister, but it was the opposite, the deep end was thrown to him,” Moyo said.
“He is not unfamiliar with health issues because as an army commander, you can’t have a strong defence force that has no strong health facilities.”
He added: “He is a good historian and if Phathisa Nyathi was here, I would have told him that the history he knows does not match that of the VP.”
Chiwenga on Friday hailed health workers for fighting to save lives despite unfavourable conditions in the sector.
“I do appreciate the dedication by our frontline workers who continue to answer the call of saving lives,” he said.
“The presentations that I have been favoured with by stakeholders, bear ample testimony of the many midnight candles burnt to prepare reports to enlighten me on the situation on the ground.”
The function was graced by several government officials, including Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs minister Judith Ncube, Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister Raymore Machingura and his Lands counterpart Vangelis Haritatos.
Chiwenga and his delegation also visited Engutsheni Mental Health Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospitals and Mpilo Central Hospital to assess the situation.