Zimbabwe: Doctors' Strike - Medical School Lecturers Suspended

Zimbabwe doctors on strike (file photo).
9 October 2019

The case in which Government was seeking determination on the legality of doctors' job action has been deferred to tomorrow to allow the applicant to provide documents of proceedings that transpired before the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry, a top official has said.

This comes as the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) has suspended some lecturers in the Medical School without pay and benefits for allegedly influencing student doctors to engage in industrial action.

Director Civil Division in the Attorney-General's Office Mrs Fortune Chimbaru told The Herald yesterday that the striking doctors' case will now be heard tomorrow at 2.15pm.

"The case was postponed for us to file a record of proceedings that transpired before the Minister (of Labour) leading to the minister issuing a show cause order to the Labour Court," said Mrs Chimbaru.

A show cause order is a court order requiring a party to appear before a court to explain why a certain action should not be taken against them.

A majority of junior and some senior doctors have continued to defy Government's directive to return to work citing financial incapacitation.

The doctors stopped reporting for work on September 3 in a bid to push Government to address their grievances.

All efforts by Government have been in vain to bring doctors back at work.

The doctors have rejected all offers tabled by Government, the latest being a 60 percent increment on allowances.

Meanwhile, the UZ has suspended some Medical School lecturers without pay and benefits for allegedly influencing student doctors to engage in industrial action.

The lecturers, who are also consultant practitioners at Government hospitals, are Dr Bothwell Mbuvayesango and Dr David Chimuka.

"The university has good cause to believe that you contravened the University of Zimbabwe code of conduct section 16, schedule D, subsection 16.2

which reads: Any act of conduct or omission inconsistent with the fulfilment of the express or implied conditions of his/her contract."

Subsection 16.31, which is quoted on one of the suspension letters signed by UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo, talks about "inciting and/ or taking part in the unlawful collective job action or strike by students or staff."

The lecturers are set to appear before a staff disciplinary hearing in due course.

Some senior doctors have since joined the junior doctors' industrial action citing a number of challenges, which also include equipment and medicines.

Last month, there was also a rumour that medical students were planning to boycott graduation ceremony in solidarity with a missing Dr Peter Magombeyi.

The plan was then shelved following Dr Magombeyi's reappearance in Nyabira but some of the suspended lecturers were also leading "solidarity" demonstrations together with other health workers.

Dr Magombeyi is the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association acting president who was allegedly abducted before he was "found" in Nyabira and is presently in South Africa.

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