By A Correspondent- The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) yesterday said it had set up a crowd-funding platform through their affiliate associations to ease financial problems faced by its members, particularly those who did not receive their salaries last week.
The doctors, who also claim they are receiving indirect threats to force them to abandon their nearly two months’ strike, said the non-payment of salaries had further impoverished them.
“The most recent assault has been the withholding of October salaries for all doctors who have not been reporting to work due to the very fact that they are financially liquidated,” ZHDA representative Tawanda Zvakada said.
Health Services Board chairperson Paulinus Sikosana has, however, denied reports that government suspended salaries for the striking doctors, claiming that some doctors were omitted by mistake.
“The HSB receives consolidated information from registers compiled by individual hospitals. For senior doctors, this is based on an on-call roster and as such if the doctor on-call was called to attend to patients and did not come, they were considered to be absent from work,” he said.
Addressing the media at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals yesterday, Zvakada, who was flanked by other members of the ZHDA executive, said while they acknowledged attempts by government in addressing their pleas, the offers fell short of their expectations.
Although their employer dragged them to court which ordered them to go back to work, the doctors have said they remain incapacitated to go back to work.
“While the willingness to comply with the ruling is there, we maintain that we remain physically and materially incapacitated,” Zvakada said.
Of concern to doctors is the fact that they have received threats.
“We as the ZHDA leadership, we feel there are indirect threats that have been made towards us. We condemn such actions if indeed they were directed to us or if there is anyone planning to do so,” they said.
The threats come three weeks after ZHDA president Peter Magombeyi was allegedly abducted and tortured by suspected State security agents and had to be flown to South Africa to receive further treatment.
Meanwhile, suspected Zanu PF members took to social media yesterday describing the doctors’ strike as a political move being sponsored by the United States government.
This followed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s remarks last week that there was a third force behind the doctors’ strike. He alleged that his government had discovered that there were four or five leaders who went to meetings at night and came back to influence others not to return to work.
The suspected Zanu PF members went on Twitter, accusing human rights lawyer Doug Coltart of handing over US$19 300 to ZHDA spokesperson Masimba Ndoro at Fishmonger Belgravia to cushion doctors who failed to receive their salaries.
But Coltart refuted the allegations, accusing Zanu PF of making desperate allegations to divert attention from the strike.