Zimbabwe: Nick Mangwana Apologizes Over 'Medical Assassins' Remarks

25 January 2021

Information Secretary Ndabaningi Mangwana has withdrawn reckless remarks he made on Twitter yesterday where he insinuated that 'medical assassins' hiding behind medical qualifications were working to eliminate Zanu PF aligned politicians.

Posting on Twitter, Mangwana said "This is what's leading to the unfortunate conspiracy theory that there are certain political players being eliminated in hospitals buy political activists hiding behind medical qualifications."

Mangwana's remarks followed the death of three government ministers (Ellen Gwaradzimba, SB Moyo and Biggie Joel Matiza) and top two Zanu PF politicians (Aeneas Chigwedere and Paradzai Zimhondi) in a space of one week.

The remarks drew widespread criticism from medical professionals and civic groups who condemned felt Mangwana had acted irresponsibly and likely to demoralize front line workers fighting hard to save lives without adequate resources.

In a statement, Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights(ZADHR) said government should applaud frontline workers who are risking their lives to provide essential services during the pandemic.

"The government must be seen applauding the positive role being played by frontline health workers who are working tirelessly to provide essential services during this pandemic, risking their lives to save Zimbabweans in the process. COVID-19 requires close collaboration between government, health workers and all citizens," ZADHR noted.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) also condemned Mangwana saying his utterances had the potential of demoralizing front line workers who have been giving their all to save lives albeit without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

"The same people have been on the frontline for a year now without adequate PPE and the suggestion that they are aiding the death of politicians is not only an insult but could have a ripple effect on the morale of these workers

"The Coalition echoes the sentiments of the Medical and Dental Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association that such inflammatory talk could demoralize the resilient front line workers who have continued risking their lives," CiZC noted in a statement.

Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union Secretary General, Chikobvu Douglas said Mangwana's remarks are meant to hinder health workers from effectively discharging their duties.

"The conspiracy theories are meant to grossly hinder our health vineyard as nurses have been dealt with a heavy blow to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently," Chikobvu said.

After a wide outcry, Mangwana withdrew his remarks saying he was expressed a personal view without any intention to offend doctors.

"I expressed my personal view on an issue a Dr had tweeted on. I had no intention to offend any doctor or call any of them names. Since it has caused such offence, I withdraw it and apologise for any offence caused. I just hope we can move and not be distracted from work at hand," he said.

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