All the fired doctors have 48-hours to return to work without re-applying or being asked many questions, President Mnangagwa has promised after this was requested by the Catholic bishops.
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The doctors were dismissed after they were found guilty of absenteeism following a court ruling declaring their strike illegal.
Disciplinary hearings were then instituted by the Health Service Board against those doctors who failed to report for duty after the ruling, leading to the dismissal of 448 doctors as of November 26.
Government yesterday gave the doctors a reprieve following a long meeting between President Mnangagwa and his deputies Dr Constantino Chiwenga and Cde Kembo Mohadi, and the Catholic bishops led by the head of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop of Harare, Robert Ndlovu at State House.
President Mnangagwa told journalists after the meeting that they had a fruitful engagement with the bishops and agreed to their request regarding the sacked doctors.
“The bishops sent us a pastoral letter of issues they were raising across the board and asking to meet us as leadership. We acceded to their request and we have discussed these issues,” he said.
“I think the major issue that we have covered was the health sector and national health delivery, economic situation and social conditions of the people in the country, (the) political situation and the role and relations of political parties and national dialogue and last, Government, churches and civil society interaction. “We covered all those areas. We found it very fruitful, the contribution by the bishops who came to meet us. Then, they requested for a moratorium on the question of doctors for two days. Could we offer a moratorium for two days for the doctors who have been dismissed to come back and join without application, just come back to work and we granted the request.”
Archbishop Ndlovu echoed President Mnangagwa’s sentiments saying their discussions covered a range of issues.
“We discussed a lot about the issue of striking doctors,” he said. “What we managed to extract from Government was that they agreed to give (dismissed doctors) a moratorium for two days to report to work without having to reapply. They don’t need to apply as it had been decided by Cabinet. That one, Government has committed to that.
“The second thing is that we are happy to hear that the Government say now, for our Mission hospitals, they are going to now help us to equip them and also to provide drugs. We discussed, of course, the economic situation, Government explaining the difficulties that are there but the efforts that they are also making and I think that is the main thing.”
On political dialogue, Archbishop Ndlovu said; “I don’t think there is any change. The President is still committed to dialogue, and of course he says what is important is that they all come together.
“It’s not a question of Zanu-PF and MDC but all the political players and he is open to that. That is what he said. He said he is still open to anyone including the leader of the MDC-A (Mr Nelson Chamisa).”-zimpapers