HARARE - The Health Services Board (HSB) said yesterday it suspended the executive of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) for inciting doctors to go on industrial action, breaching standing orders by washing dirty linen in public and relentlessly attacking the mother board.
The move to suspend four members of the ZHDA leadership followed criticism by the doctors that the HSB was inept and corrupt, citing findings by the Auditor-General.
The Lovemore Mbengeranwa-led HSB told a news conference yesterday that they had been displeased by the way the doctors were airing their grievances and how they had relentlessly attacked the HSB and Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa in the media.
“There were relentless attacks on the board, when Treasury failed to pay salaries on time, they blamed it on the board,” Mbengeranwa told a press conference in Harare yesterday.
“And when Treasury failed to pay bonuses, they blamed the board.
“We were taken aback by what amounts to derogatory attacks demanding the dissolving of the board. We had no choice on what were tantamount to very personal attacks from junior people.”
Mbengeranwa said the junior doctors’ leadership had been suspended to pave way for investigations.
The ZHDA said it viewed these suspensions as “a 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”.
“As the ZHDA, we totally condemn this childish behaviour by the HSB as illegal and unconstitutional,” ZHDA’s Francis Rwodzi said in a statement.
“We reiterate our call that President Robert Mugabe dissolve 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.”
Former Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, a member of the HSB, said the junior doctors were out of line by calling for the board to be dissolved.
“The doctors are junior and are inexperienced, and for them to call for the board to be dissolved is a reflection of inexperience, because they are saying the experienced doctors (who are board members) should not lead them,” Gula-Ndebele said.
Part of the letter notifying Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals of the suspension of the four read: “You are suspected to have committed an act of misconduct as defined in paragraph 21 of the 1st schedule (section 2) of the Health Service Regulations.
“On a period from October 2014 to February 2016 you are alleged to have been inciting members of the health service to engage in nationwide strikes.”