Liberation war medic becomes Zim’s new Health minister

VICE President Constantino Chiwenga has been appointed minister of Health and Child Care with immediate effect.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Chiwenga comes in with some history in the health care having been a medic in the early years of the liberation struggle.

Chiwenga replaces Obadiah Moyo who was sacked last month accused of illegally awarding multi-million-dollar contract for medical supplies.

Moyo has been charged with corruption over the multi-million-dollar contract and his case is currently before the courts.

Chiwenga’s appointment was announced by Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda on Tuesday.

“In terms of Section 99 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 20) Act 2013, His Excellency the President Cde Emerson Mnangagwa has appointed Hon Vice President Dr C D Chiwenga as Minister of Health,” said Sibanda.

He added that the decision was arrived after noting the urgent need to stabilise, restructure and reform the national health delivery system to better cope with the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic and in the process ensuring a quick turnaround in national healthcare.

Presidential spokesperson Charamba said Chiwenga had been appointed Minister of Health and Child Care “to speedily stabilize, restructure and reform national healthcare delivery”.

“This is the second time the Vice President, who was a medic in the early days of the Liberation Struggle, has doubled as Vice President and a Minister of Government. At the start of the Second Republic, he was also the country’s Defence Minister. Under the First Republic, Vice President E.D. Mnangagwa then was also Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. The appointment is with immediate effect,” Charamba said via his twitter account, under the moniker Jamwanda.

Zimbabwe’s public health care system is currently teetering on the brink of breakdown with shortages of basic drugs and equipment and an overburdened and underpaid staff.

Chiwenga who receives his health treatment in China comes in to head the sector at a time nurses have been on a go-slow for months demanding improved remuneration and coronavirus protective gear.

The coronavirus pandemic has added to Zimbabwe’s health woes which have been escalated by the country’s wider economic collapse of hyperinflation.