HARARE – Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday appointed his deputy Constantino Chiwenga as the new health minister, tasking him with reforming a decaying health sector amid a rise in Covid-19 infections and strikes by health workers.
Chiwenga replaces Obadiah Moyo who was removed from the post last month after allegations of corruption.
In his new role, Chiwenga will be required to “stabilise, restructure and reform” the national healthcare system, the government said in a statement.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) immediately criticised the appointment, saying Chiwenga was not the right man for the job in a time of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The appointment of an unqualified sick man who’s routinely airlifted abroad for medical care is a slap in the face to Zimbabweans who deserve proper leadership during this Covid-19 pandemic. We object to this gross display of incompetence,” the MDC Alliance said in a statement.
On Monday, Mnangagwa named one of his army doctors Jasper Chimedza as the ministry of health’s new permanent secretary, after Zimbabwe went without one since May when Agnes Mahomva was reassigned following repeated clashes with Moyo.
Zimbabwe has recorded more than 4,000 Covid-19 cases and 80 deaths and health officials say infections will continue to rise for sometime.
Chiwenga spent four months in China receiving medical treatment for an unknown illness until November last year. He has returned three times since then for medical check-ups, according to government officials.
Chiwenga has previously taken a hard-line on striking doctors, once calling them “skilled technicians or labourers whose knowledge fits them for an occupation but not a profession”. He said this while threatening a law change to to ban doctors from going on strike. – Reuters
Source: Zim Live