Sunday, 19 June 2016

Mugabe chides doctors to "put people first" - nonsense, service build on benevolence will collapse. By W Mukori

Mugabe chides doctors for putting money before the wellbeing of their patients.

"We appreciate the work of doctors, they deserve to be rewarded accordingly. However, they must also understand the limitations the government is facing. We are still fighting for our liberation, there are sanctions that are affecting our capacity to honour our obligations to workers," said Mugabe.

"Dr Muchemwa, as one of the first doctors who gave medical services to the liberation war fighters, had that understanding and we need his peers to understand also, he never put money first, but the people first and made great sacrifices. Right now as I speak there is a stand-off between our medical staff and us the government on remuneration."

He was commenting on the on-going saga of private sector doctors who are now demanding cash payment up front from patients whose medical aid institutions have failed to on time the doctors for services rendered. Some of the bills have not been paid for years and, to rub salt into the doctors’ open wounds, government has been forcing them to pay income tax on unpaid income!

Mugabe’s habit of blaming the country’s worsening economic crisis on sanctions is utter nonsense and an insult to every thinking Zimbabwean. How can the nation prosper when corruption is so rampant that $15 billion in diamond revenue alone, by his own admission, is looted and no one is arrested and, for all we know, the looting is still going on right now!

Given these are targeted sanctions, how is it then that they are affected everyone else except the targeted individuals? There is no money to pay civil servants their below poverty-line wages and yet there is plenty of cash to pay for Mugabe and his family's extravagant lifestyles, for example. In the first five months of this year alone he has squandered $80 million on overseas trips alone, according to a local report.

When Mugabe rigged the 2013 elections he was cocksure he would go on to rig economic recovery too with his $27 billion ZImAsset economic plan. The plan was going to create 2.2 million new jobs in five years; there two out of the five years left and the nation has not seen any new jobs. Instead of acknowledging there will be no economic recovery because the ZimAsset plan is dead in the water; not even the "all weather" Chinese friends were prepared to bankroll the exorbitantly expensive hare-brain scheme; Mugabe continues to blame the sanctions for the economic crisis.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown is real and it is causing untold human suffering and claiming human lives. If Mugabe real value human lives over his insatiable greed for absolute political power and the vast material wealth in the form of looted resources it has brought him and his cronies then he must finally accept that it is corrupt and tyrannical rule that is the root cause of the economic meltdown. Just how long can he continue to hide behind the sanctions finger whilst the nation suffer and die!  

After 36 years of mismanagement, corruption and lawlessness these problems are now deeply imbedded in the nation, it will take a tough and visionary government to uproot them to get the national economy back on track. This Zanu PF regime is the one spawned the problems and allowed them to grow and spread; it is naïve to the regime to be the tough and visionary government.

The only practical way to get the visionary government is for the nation implement the 2008 GPA democratic reforms, everyone agreed at the time were necessary for free, fair and credible elections, and then hold fresh elections. There is nothing to be gained from refusing to admit Zanu PF has failed just as there is nothing to be gained from chiding the private sector doctors for asking to be paid for their work!

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest," said the great Economist, Adam Smith.

Government has failed to pay the country’s public sector health service bills and with even big referral hospitals like Parirenyatwa are now in such a deplorable state the hospital often gone for days on end without something as basic as clean running water! If private doctors are forced to continue treating these patients and not be paid it will not be long before the private sector health service too falls into the same sorry state as the public sector.

“It is not from the benevolence of the doctors that we expect our health care services, but from their regard to their own interest,” to paraphrase Adam Smith. After all, these doctors too need their dinner and the butcher, brewer, etc. would be touched to hear they are treating their patients for free but still expect to doctors to pay cash for their meat, beer, etc.!


  1. Provincial hospitals like Gweru General Hospital are up to its eyes in financial trouble, the patients have not been paying their bills and funding from central government has all but dried up. Staff are poorly paid if they are paid at all. It is correct to say the poor who are forced to use public hospitals because they cannot afford to go to private hospitals are going there to die; public health service all but collapsed.

    If it was not for donor funding; most of Zimbabwe's public health hospitals and clinics up and down the country will be empty structures for owls to roost! If the nation allows this Zanu PF regime to bully the private health sector to provide a health care for no payment then there will be no health care for everyone, even those with a little money left to pay for it.

    There is a double irony here:

    1) Zimbabwe is a rich country with the wealth to afford all its people a decent standard of living in-cluding a healthy and functional health service. It has fallen into hard times because of gross mis-management and rampant corrupt by none other than President Mugabe himself. His habit of blaming sanctions for his failed ruled has not helped the nation and it is shocking that even now with the country sinking into the abyss he still continues to live the lie.

    2) He clearly accepts that the country's health services has collapsed and is using the Far East for his and family's health needs at great cost to the nation. Whilst the decision makes sense for him it does not make any sense at national level since it has taken away the little the public health was getting accelerating its collapse.

  2. I do agree with you 100% that the private health service will too collapse as has happened with the public health service if we following this voodoo economics of building a health service founded on the benevolence of the doctors. However what I cannot understand is why these doctors are punishing the civil servants.

    These doctors know the civil servant are medical aid members whose membership subscriptions are up to date but instead of it being used to pay the doctors' bills is being withheld by government or else wasted in paying corrupt officials. The doctors are angry they are being asked to pay income tax on moneys government itself is refusing to pay them. So why are these doctors failing to take this up with government by refusing to pay tax?

    These doctors are picking on the civil servants for no other reason than they are a soft target than government! This is just an act of selfish cowardice and shortsightedness; the intellectual rot that has destroyed Zimbabwe and allowed tyrants like President Mugabe to run riot. Like it or not Zimbabwe is sinking into the abyss and no one has been spared the poor and the intelligentsia everyone in going down.
    The country can be saved from the madness of tyrants like President Mugabe and it is not too much to ask the nation's professionals to put aside their blinkered selfishness individualism and consider the broader nation interest.

    At the end of the day these doctors will never prosper from squeezing the last pennies from an impoverished nation. The doctors will only prosper when the nation is back to work and prospering; it is in the whole nation's interest to get the nation working again.

  3. It is ok for him and his family and the late Muchemwa because they can afford to go to the Far East and Egypt, respectively, for their health needs what of the rest of us! Just how long does Mugabe think he can keep up this charade of rigging elections, blaming sanctions whilst he continues to loot the nation blind, etc.! He should know that we are not all stupid brainwashed Zanu PF supoorters.

    Yes we will have political reforms and regime change; Zimbabwe is not Zanu PF and Zanu PF is not more important than Zimbabwe!

    The economic meltdown is real and is squeezing everyone hard, including the Zanu PF thugs and idiots; even they will soon see the wisdom of regime change!

  4. "Nonsense! Let's suffer if we are going to suffer because we have been denied assistance by outsiders demanding that they should do what they want in our country. We say no.

    "Our land which we have died for and suffered for is greater, much greater than your resources. Your resources will come and go, my land will always be there, and it shall always be Zimbabwe.

    "We shall always have Zimbabwe and the land shall always be in the hands of the sons and daughters of Zimbabwe," Mugabe thundered.

    This is pure nonsense the Zimbabwe economy is not in total meltdown because of the sanctions but because of the decades of gross mismanagement and rampant corruptions. Mugabe has himself admitted that $15 billion in diamond revenue was looted and there is nothing to suggest the looting has stopped and yet he still expect us to believe it is the sanctions that are causing all our problems.

    He is clearly still in denial about the economic meltdown but no matter because the economy will get a lot worse until he admits or the people force him out of office! Watch this space!