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Nick Mangwana says he regrets calling doctors “hospital assassins”

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana apologised for comments he made insinuating that some Zimbabwean doctors and nurses were “hospital assassins” that they were responsible for the deaths of four government ministers who have so far succumbed to Covid-19.

Infomation, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana
Infomation, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Ndavaningi Nick Mangwana

Mangwana was responding to his follower who had claimed that some of Zimbabwe’s doctors “are acting like Josef Mengeles, no ethics.”

(Mengeles, also known as the Angel of Death, was a German Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and physician during World War II and is mainly remembered for his actions at the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he performed deadly experiments on prisoners, and was a member of the team of doctors who selected victims to be killed in the gas chambers.)

Mangwana responded and said some doctors in public hospitals were political activists responsible for assassinating politicians.

“I followed that. This is what’s leading to the unfortunate conspiracy theory that there are certain political players being eliminated in hospitals by political activists hiding behind medical qualifications.”

Following his regrettable sentiments, Mangwana was bombarded by criticism from ruling Zanu PF party officials, medical practitioners and opposition officials.

He went back to social media and apologised.

“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 & apologise for any offence caused. I just hope we can move and not be distracted from work at hand,” he said.

However, his apology did not go well with former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo who questioned, “are you withdrawing and apologising due to ‘the offence’ caused?”

He added, “are you withdrawing and apologizing because your ‘personal view’ was false, scandalous & illegal & had a real risk and possibility of causing alarm and despondency?

“What’s official vs what’s personal on your TL?”

Mangwana’s accusations come after the death of Joel Biggie Matiza (60), who was also the Zanu PF chairman for Mashonaland East, and Major General Paradzai Zimondi (74) on Friday after they succumbed to Covid-19. Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo also succumbed to Covid-19.

All four have since been declared national heroes.

On Thursday last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa presided over the burial at the National Heroes Acre of Manicaland Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba (60) and and Zanu PF Central Committee member Morton Dizzy Paul Malianga (91).

Gwaradzimba succumbed to Covid-19, while Malianga (91) had been ill for some time.

The Senior Hospital Doctors Association said its members observed “high levels of ethics and professionalism” adding that Mangwana’s sentiments were regrettable.

“Such a serious allegation from a high office is regrettable,” the doctors said in a statement, noting that elsewhere around the world “governments have gone out of their way to celebrate and support their health workers who are putting their lives on the line to provide care in the face of this deadly virus.”

Former Energy minister Fortune Chasi paid tribute to the doctors and nurses who are working under a serious threat of coronavirus.

“Doctors, nurses and all who work in our hospitals at whatever level are at the forefront of the war we are engaged in. They are the heroes and heroines of our time. The importance of their work and risks they are exposed to must be acknowledged by all of us, ” Chasi said. Nehanda Radio

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