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Mangwana apologises for ‘medical assassins’ remark

BY RICHARD MUPONDE INFORMATION secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana was yesterday forced to retract allegations that he made to the effect that some medical practitioners in the country were deliberately killing Zanu PF politicians and hiding behind the COVID-19 pandemic. Mangwana had made the offensive statement on his official Twitter handle where he claimed that some doctors had become “medical assassins” and were acting like “mini Josef Mengele”, a German Nazi officer and physician who performed medical experiments on Jews during World War II. His statement came soon after the deaths, due to COVID-19 of Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo, Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza and Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba and other Zanu PF stalwarts last week. However, his statement was roundly condemned, as doctors immediately responded and blasted him for making reckless statements that had the effect of stoking tensions in the country which is currently struggling to contain the second wave of the coronavirus. But yesterday, Mangwana apologised saying that he had no intention to offend the doctors. “I expressed my personal opinion on an issue a DR (doctor) had tweeted on. I had no intention to offend any doctors or call any of them names. Since it has caused such offence, I withdraw it and apologise for any offence caused. I just hope we can move on and not be distracted from work at hand,” Mangwana tweeted. Most of the now-deceased ministers were admitted at local private hospitals. Mangwana alleged that some of the country’s doctors were political activists. Meanwhile, discord has erupted among teachers unions over a call by the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) that government should come up with COVID-19 mitigation strategies to open schools soon. This was said by the Zimta chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu who felt that it was imperative for the government to map out strategies to reopen schools so that the children’s future is not destroyed. The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) immediately reacted saying it would be suicidal to encourage government to reopen schools anytime soon. In a statement, the PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said Zimta’s assertions were ill-conceived. “Teachers and pupils are not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time when government officials are decimated by COVID-19, it is foolhardy to imagine that government can protect teachers and pupils. Government has shown no interest to buy testing kits in order to test all the 136 000 teachers and almost five million learners,” Zhou said. He said the PTUZ would resist any attempts to reopen schools at a time teachers’ welfare had not been considered. “We will not allow a situation where teachers and pupils are taken as if they are of no account in Zimbabwe. Teachers and pupils’ lives matter,” Zhou said. Follow Richard on Twitter @muponderichard

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