Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Zimbabwe doctors’ labour leader ‘kidnapped’ during strikes: union

 

 

Union activists and rights campaigners on Sunday accused Zimbabwe’s security forces of kidnapping the leader of a doctors’ union, who disappeared during a strike he had helped organise.

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said Peter Magombeyi had not been heard from since he sent a WhatsApp message on Saturday night saying he had been “kidnapped by three men”.

The ZHDA accused the security forces of abducting him because of his role in organising the work stoppages.

A few dozen doctors and nurses, who are paid less than $200 a month, marched on Sunday in Harare to protest his disappearance.

Slogans on the improvised placards included “Free Dr Magombeyi unharmed now” and “No Dr Peter, no work: simple”.

Police said in a statement that they were was investigating the matter, but also cautioned against making kidnap allegations to damage the country’s image.

“The possibility of a third force being involved in the alleged abductions for political expedience and to sustain the human rights abuse narrative ahead of the forthcoming United Nations General Assembly cannot be ruled out.”

The UN General Assembly meets in New York this week.

Striking doctors are demanding pay rises in a country still struggling with high inflation and fuel and food shortages after decades of economic crisis under former president Robert Mugabe, who died a week ago.

“Efforts to reach him after he had sent the alarming message have been fruitless,” the ZHDA said in a statement, calling for his release and for medics to protest.

Before he disappeared, Magombeyi had said he had received threatening calls and messages on his phone.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers association called for his release.

“Expressing their concerns on poor working conditions is a right not a privilege,” it said.

Zimbabwe’s once-vaunted public health system has deteriorated after years of neglect under the Mugabe regime, and doctors complain about lack of supplies and poor conditions.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was elected to replace Mugabe after he was ousted in 2017, has been under pressure to deliver on promises of more investment and jobs.

A measure to double fuel prices this year sparked nationwide protests, prompting a crackdown on the opposition and clashes in which 17 people were killed when soldiers opened fire.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Basic web lessons for South Africa: Government hacks point to...

Recent cyberattacks at the department of justice and the space agency highlight the extent of our naïveté

Farmers squeezed by big retailers

It may be beneficial for consumers when supermarkets push to get the lowest price from suppliers, but it can harm the farmers

More top stories

Ramaphosa hits the right notes as he urges Cosatu to...

Cosatu meets to deliberate on its support for the governing party in the upcoming local government elections

DA insists IEC favoured the ANC after Constitutional Court dismisses...

The apex court’s dismissal of the Democratic Alliance’s application to declare reopening candidate registration unlawful came as no surprise

‘Factional’ ANC Veterans League chastised by Motlanthe

ANC Limpopo leaders called on the election committee to change the candidate lists in favour of Ramaphosa faction days before Motlanthe’s report on factions in the party

Sisters pave the way with ecobricks

The durable bricks are made from 30% recycled plastic, some of which they collect from a network of 50 waste pickers
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×