Doctors down tools, demand release of abducted union leader

Medical doctors in Bulawayo have downed tools in protest over the alleged abduction and disappearance of Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZHDA) acting president, Peter Magombeyi.

Dr Magombeyi has not been accounted for, two days after he was allegedly abducted on Saturday evening in Budiriro by suspected state agents.

In solidarity, doctors in Bulawayo staged a demonstration at Mpilo Hospital to register their salary grievances and force Magombeyi`s captors to release him back to his family.

The striking doctors broke into song and waved placards inscribed: #Abduction is no solution, #No to intimidation, #Take one take all #No Peter No work, #One South African Doctor can pay 10 doctors here in Zimbabwe.

A similar demonstration was held in Harare where hundreds of doctors took to the streets to add their voice to the calls for Dr Magombeyi`s release.

Addressing the gathering ZHDA outgoing secretary general, Dr Mthabisi Anele Bhebhe said they were concerned with the whereabouts of the union leader.

“It is very sad that we are gathered today with profound sadness because of our colleague who was abducted, to  me it came as a shock  because first of all I was not expecting that in Zimbabwe with the  amount of security apparatus that we have  and the amount of the national budget that we always put towards the security sector, a grown up Doctor can go missing  and no one knows where he is,” he said.

Dr Bhebhe added that the industrial action will continue until their leader is back.

“The strike is going to continue even if it means hundred years until the where about of Peter Magombeyi is known and until we are given decent salaries.

“What we are saying is Government should give us money that we agreed in 2018 which was pegged in United States dollars and the basic salary was US$372 which is still very low,” he said.

He said at the moment Doctors are earning a shameful salary which according to interbank rates of today is equivalent to US$100.

“In United States Dollars our salary these days is equivalent to US$100 which is a silly salary, we cannot go to work every morning to spend the whole day to be paid a US$100 it is just an insult,” said Dr Bhebhe.

Mpilo Hospital Clinical Director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said the whole profession is in shock following the abduction of Dr Magombeyi.

“Our colleague whom we trained here has been abducted and gone missing, the whole profession is in shock and we all want to see his safe return to us and the family.

“We hope that the government is doing all it can to bring him back, we want him back,” said Dr Ngwenya.

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