By Gift Phiri
The Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) has confirmed that Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi has undergone specialist medical training and has qualifications from Sweden that meet local standards or legislation to practice as a medical doctor.
MDPCZ’s revelation published on its website is seen shaming war veterans leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa, who claimed recently that the Defence minister was a bogus physician.
The garrulous war veterans’ leader had accused Sekeramayi of masquerading as a medical doctor, of allegedly failing to sit for medical examinations or gain registration with the local medical board and slowly assuming the identity of a real doctor.
But the MDPCZ — whose responsibility is to register, educate and discipline the medical and dental professions in Zimbabwe — confirmed on its web page that Sekeramayi, 73, has an acquired right to practice as a general practitioner or medical specialist in Zimbabwe.
Sekeramayi, whose registration number is M062440, has a primary qualification as a medical doctor from Stockholm in Sweden, acquired in 1973.
This flies in the face of claims by Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa, a former Zimbabwean ambassador to China, threw into question Sekeramayi’s bonafides after First Lady Grace Mugabe revealed at a Bindura rally last weekend that President Robert Mugabe summoned the Swedish-trained medical doctor because he felt he was on his deathbed after falling sick from food poisoning, in an apparent jibe at Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose allies have gone to town with claims that he was deliberately poisoned by political foes at a Gwanda rally last month.
“Everyone knows that he is not a qualified doctor and I want to challenge him to bring his registration with the Medical and Health Allied Professions,” Mutsvangwa, a former War Veterans minister, said.
“The fact that he was a doctor, I was also a doctor sometime in the war because we were in the sections and we could give each other a hand but all the comrades who went to the war and were medical assistants are not claiming to be doctors because they have got integrity but he alone claims to be a doctor when he has not gone through the academic qualifications, that is not right.
“We now have a whole gamut of people in the G40 (Generation 40 faction) calling themselves doctors, and their new totem is doctors.”
This comes as Zanu PF is now bitterly divided along two factions, on one side is Mnangagwa’s alleged faction – dubbed Team Lacoste after the crocodile-branded French fashion chain, which enjoys support of the war veterans.
On the other is G40, a group of Zanu PF Young Turks who have coalesced around Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife, Grace.
Relations between Mugabe and the former freedom fighters reached a new low over the weekend when the G40 faction and its alleged chosen presidential candidate Sekeramayi called for the dissolution of Mutsvangwa’s Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans (ZNLWVA) executive.
Besides the MDPCZ confirmation, a quick check revealed that Sekeramayi moved to Czechoslovakia in the 1960s to study on an NDP scholarship with help from Rupiah Banda, the ex-Zambia president who ruled from 2008 to 2011.
Banda, who was at the time international secretary of the Zambia Students Union, established contact between Sekeramayi and the NIB now Swedish International Development (Sida).
In June 1964, Sekeramayi moved from Czechoslovakia to Lund, Sweden, on an NIB scholarship.
He studied genetics at the University of Lund, and became Zanu’s representative in Sweden, and then attended medical school.
Mugabe told the Mashonaland Central presidential youth interface meeting last weekend: “VekuZambia vaive president, Rupiya Banda, waive president not long ago akakurira kuno vaiorganiser mastudents ekuZambia kuti aende kuSweden akati, ‘haa, rega tikuise (Sekeramayi) mune vakomana vedu vari kuenda kuSweden tongoti muri vanhu vamwe chete kumaSwedish.’
“Ndokuenda kwavakaita kuSweden vakanofunda chiSwedish ikoko. Vakaita medicine ndokwavakaitira medicine ikoko. (Ex-Zambian President Rupiah Banda organised for Sekeramayi to go to Sweden as part of a Zambian delegation to study there. That’s how he went there to study medicine),” Mugabe said.
Mnangagwa, a 74-year-old guerrilla war veteran and Mugabe’s main security enforcer, is widely seen as a succession contender, along with Sekeramayi.
Mnangagwa and Sekeramayi have been members of Mugabe’s Cabinet since 1980, and played a major role in Zanu PF’s re-election machine.
Mugabe has been ambivalent on naming a successor typical of a wily and inscrutable guerrilla politician who fought a liberation war leading to independence in 1980, crushed a revolt once in power and has outfoxed rivals in and outside his fractious Zanu PF party.
But his advanced years and the persistent questions about his health, compounded by successive medical check-up visits to Singapore, mean that his endurance in office carries its own cloud of uncertainty for Zimbabwe’s future. Daily News