By Staff Reporter.
HARARE – Zimbabwe government spokesman Nick Ndavaningi Mangwana has apologised after suggesting “medical assassins” were deliberately killing Zanu PF members in hospitals following the death of several past and present bureaucrats from Covid-19 last week.
Mangwana sparked outrage Sunday after appearing to ratify a bogus conspiracy pushed by one Twitter user questioning the ethics of some doctors whom he alleged had threatened to treat coronavirus patients based on political party affiliation.
“I followed that,” Mangwana responded. “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.”
“Not just political players but medical assassins.”
The Senior Hospital Doctors Association quickly took umbrage and called Mangwana’s claims “regrettable” while the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights warned that “the continuous persecution of medical practitioners is likely to destabilise the health sector.”
Feeling the pushback, Mangwana put out an apology on Monday, saying he had no “intention to offend any doctor.”
“I expressed my personal view on an issue a doctor had tweeted on. I had no intention to offend any doctor or call any of them names,” Mangwana tweeted.
“Since it has caused such offense, I withdraw it and apologise for any offense caused. I just hope we can move and not be distracted from work at hand.”
Several Zanu PF and government officials, including Manicaland provincial minister Ellen Gwaradzimba, foreign minister Sibusiso Moyo and transport minister Biggie Matiza died from Covid-19 last week.
Many others, plus the country’s two vice presidents, were rumoured to be down with the respiratory disease.
But the government issued a statement Monday calling out social and mainstream media for “spreading falsehoods on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the nation’s leadership.”
“It is unacceptable and unethical to publish falsehoods in a democratic society,” the ministry of home affairs said.
“Some of the falsehoods that have been peddled include suggestions that the Honorable Vice President General Rtd. Dr. Constantino G.D.N Chiwenga was unwell and had been airlifted to China for medical treatment.”
“Honorable Vice President Col Rtd K.C.D Mohadi was equally said to have been indisposed and recuperating at home.”
Weekend reports about the death of retired army general Mike Nyambuya, Zanu PF political commissar Victor Matemadanga and the ruling party’s secretary for finance Patrick Chinamasa were also false, the ministry added.
“Let us be reminded that such acts have the effect of causing alarm and despondence, not only to the individuals affected and their families but to the nation as a whole.”