HARARE – Opposition parties have slammed President Robert Mugabe for seeking medical treatment in Singapore amid a deepening crisis in the country’s health sector following a crippling doctors’ strike.
Mugabe flew out of the country early Wednesday to the Far East country for health check-up, as senior health consultants and doctors this week joined their junior colleagues’ in an all-out strike over poor working conditions and remuneration.
Although the recently turned 93 leader’s spokesperson, George Charamba, did not reveal what ailment his boss is afflicted with, the nonagenarian has previously visited the exclusive and expensive Gleneagles Hospital and Medical Centre.
On Wednesday, Charamba confirmed to the Daily News that Mugabe, who is increasingly getting frail and now struggling to walk, is in Singapore.
However, opposition and observers have said the continent’s oldest leader’s penchant for foreign health facilities is irresponsible because he has failed to upgrade the Zimbabwe’s health system to his preferred Singapore world-class level.
Former advisor to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Alex Magaisa, said: “ . . . as he goes to Singapore for a world-class medical system, he leaves behind a crippled medical system over which he has presided for 37 years, a very poor shadow of what it once was.”
“Zimbabwean doctors have been on strike for a while now. He has not attended to their concerns. He is only interested in his own health and welfare. He does not care. Why would he care when he can hop onto the plane and fly off to Singapore? Didn’t his own daughter give birth somewhere there too; away from Zimbabwe’s decrepit health system?” he said.
MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “He needs to rest. During his birthday bash . . . in Matobo, he looked jaded, weak and tired”.
“He was frothing profusely. Surely, that can’t be a sign of someone who is enjoying good health,” he said.
“When these people fall sick, they dash off overseas to receive top-drawer medical attention at government expense. When was the last time he visited Harare Central Hospital or Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo just to see for himself the condition of these two public health institutions?” Gutu said.
Tendai Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Mugabe has failed to build his preferred Singapore-style medical facilities at home as is the case with South Africa where its founding father Nelson Mandela died at a military hospital.
“Mugabe does not trust Zimbabwe with his own health but he expects Zimbabwe to trust him to run the country,” said Mafume.
“Zanu PF and Mugabe are in danger of committing genocide by inefficiency in the health sector. They are allowing the system to collapse while they get treatment in Singapore.”
Last week, Mugabe rapped Zimbabweans who have been forced by hardships to travel to the United States for greener pastures, saying they returned home empty-handed. – Daily News