DOCTORS yesterday reacted with alarm and anger over allegations by Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana that some medical practitioners were deliberately killing Zanu PF politicians and hiding behind the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ministers Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs), Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport) and Ellen Gwaradzimba (Manicaland Provincial Affairs) were among other senior party and liberation war stalwarts who died from complications related to the virus and Mangwana claimed on Twitter yesterday that doctors had become “medical assassins,” and that they were hiding behind their medical profession.
Most of the now-deceased ministers were admitted at local private hospitals before they succumbed to the respiratory virus and Mangwana alleged that some doctors were acting like “mini Josef Mengele”, a Nazi officer and physician, by threatening to withdraw oxygen based on the political party that one supported.
Mengele performed medical experiments at the Auschwitz death camps during World War II.
“I followed that. This is what’s leading to the unfortunate conspiracy theory that there are certain political players being eliminated in hospitals by political activists hiding behind medical qualifications,” Mangwana said in his response.
“In fact, not just political players, but medical assassins,” he said.
His comments irked doctors and observers who immediately called him to order, accusing him of stoking tensions at a time the country is struggling to contain the pandemic.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) described the branding of doctors as “medical assassins” by a government spokesperson as irresponsible, adding that this could escalate tensions in the health sector.
They also said there were threats of arrests and deregistration of medical practitioners who were alleged to have communicated “unethical” statements on social media.
“ZADHR strongly advises against continuous persecution of health care professionals. Cases of alleged medical misconduct, if any, must always be handled by the appropriate medical regulatory bodies,” the rights doctors said.
“Furthermore, we advise that the continuous persecution of medical practitioners is likely to destabilise the health sector during this time when the nation is supposed to be focusing on resolving the COVID-19 crisis.”