MDC raises red flag over politicisation of State institutions

BY OBEY MANAYITI/ PHYLLIS MBANJE

MDC secretary-general Charlton Hwende has written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), raising concern over the politicisation of State institutions after Zanu PF instructed NatPham to disburse medicine in Lupane East constituency ahead of the upcoming by-election.

Early this month, Zanu PF commissar Victor Matemadanda wrote to Health minister Obediah Moyo asking for medicines to beef up their campaign in Lupane East. In turn, Moyo instructed his permanent secretary to act on the request with NatPham.

The move has drawn widespread condemnation among various stakeholders, who felt the abuse of State institutions must not have a place in modern times.

Yesterday, the MDC raised the matter with Zec, saying the move also borders on criminal abuse of office.

“This amounts to breach of principle 6 (1) of the electoral code of conduct, which proscribes procurement of support or assistance of any official or public
servant to act in a partisan manner or further the interests of any political party or cause,” Hwende wrote.

“This is a clear act of collusion and coordination between Zanu PF and the minister. At the minimum, it is collusion at the level of the minister and at
worst, it involves the highest offices in the State.

“We hope you take this matter with the seriousness it deserves, considering the level of confidence in Zimbabwean elections by citizens. Your handling of this
matter will determine whether that confidence is restored or not,” added the letter.

Hwende said the issue of abuse of State resources in favour of Zanu PF has also been widely raised by international observers, including during the last
harmonised elections.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has also castigated Zanu PF for the partisan distribution of medicines to drum up support in the
by-election.

The doctors said the party’s conduct must be investigated.

ZADHR said the conduct was inconsistent with the right to health for all.

“Partisan distribution of medical goods and services is an affront to health for all, and the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical
and mental health,” ZADHR said.

“The move reveals deep-seated structural barriers to health for all in Zimbabwe. Apart from just exposing the Health ministry from dabbling in political party
electoral agendas, it raises questions on the criterion used by the ministry in the distribution of drugs and medical sundries. As ZADHR, we believe the
distribution of drugs and services must be based on population, disease-burden and current stocking levels, and not on parochial partisan political agenda.”

ZADHR said Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) must investigate the conduct by Zanu PF and the Health ministry

“ZADHR calls upon all stakeholders, including the Zacc, to investigate the minister on criminal abuse of office and bring him to account on the move,” added
the statement.

They also reminded the government that health centres must be properly equipped at all times through increased funding into the sector, and that health
services and goods must not be distributed on partisan political lines as it was discriminatory, adding the practice lacked the basic tenants of drug and
medical consumables distribution criterion.

Meanwhile, the Health ministry has denied politicising healthcare services.

“I would like to assure the general public, our donors and technical partners that our [Ministry of Health and Child Care] MoHCC teams are there to provide
equitable and quality healthcare services, including medicines to all citizens regardless of any activities taking place in the communities served. No one is
favoured,” Health secretary, Agnes Mahomva, said in a statement.

MoHCC said the action that was taken through the Provincial Medical Director and District Medical Officer‘s offices, on the instruction provided, was to
establish through reports if the normal and usual drug supply chain management was working well for all clinics in the said district, including the mentioned
clinics.

Mahomva said the teams established that a NatPham team was already on the ground, doing its normal and routine quarterly medicines supply-runs to the clinics
in the district through the MoHCC recommended Zimbabwe Assisted Pull System (ZAPS).

“No additional or extraordinary action was, therefore, needed or taken. Let me, therefore, once again reassure you the public, our donors and technical
partners that the MoHCC teams are there to simply do their work in a professional and efficient way. guided by good governance principles and nothing else.
This is done for the good of all Zimbabweans, regardless of gender creed or affiliation,” Mahomva said.

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