HomeOpinion & AnalysisTragedy of the doctors’ crippling strike

Tragedy of the doctors’ crippling strike


guest column:Learnmore Zuze

It is simple: The tragedy of the over two-months doctors’ strike is that Zimbabwe has two finely distinct groups; those who feel (the majority) the impact of the strike and those who talk (the minority) about it.

If everyone stepping on Zimbabwean soil had felt the colossal effect of the strike and its destructive trail since September 3 then the strike would have been forgotten by now.

Everyone would pull in one direction, but evidently it’s the powerless majority feeling it while the powerful minority just talks about it.

For them it’s some distant problem which should be resolved only for the good image of the country to the international community and not necessarily to ameliorate the suffering of impoverished Zimbabweans.

It is apparent that the doctor’s strike that began on September 3, 2019 in protest over a cocktail of disgruntlements, chief among them measly salaries, points to something acutely wrong with the incumbent politics.

Previously, there have been administrations that got good governance mixed up, but what is obtaining in Zimbabwe right now is unrivaled and translates to a thinly veiled “genocide” as others have noted.

The chief problem with the current crop of politicians is that they do not necessarily get to feel the impact of the troubles that the ordinary Zimbabwean has to endure on a daily basis. They are not on the ground, so to speak.

This is primarily the reason why something that should, by any standard, have attracted prompt government action has persisted for over two months now. Is the leadership in the know as to how many women and children have lost lives unnecessarily owing to this current standoff? Has anyone in the top echelons of power ever felt how it feels like for accident victims with head injuries and blood running down their necks to be rushed to a ghost hospital without caregivers?

This is precisely the Zimbabwean catastrophe presently. Those who are mandated to fix things do not seem to have that sense of urgency, that quick realisation that the crisis besetting the country is one of elephantine proportions. Those in appreciation of the reality have no power yet those in power have no appreciation of reality.

A sense of sobriety quickly dictates that the doctors’ strike should never have even gone beyond a week if indeed there was genuine care for the masses’ welfare.

What the doctors have raised are not far fetched requisitions; their demands are far from ludicrousness.

A hard look at the financial priorities of the government presents a conundrum in light of the current crisis. Millions of dollars have been ploughed into air travel, things that have little to do with cushioning the long-suffering Zimbabwean whose only importance comes during voting politicians into power.

It should not be so much about the doctors as it should be about the people whom the current government should serve with sincerity.

If the zeal and agility with which the State responds to demonstrations was to be the same, in measure, as that applied to solving such crises as the doctors strike then, evidently, there wouldn’t be a strike lasting for a day.

The cheeky responses seen in crushing dissent, whereupon hordes of equipment and manpower are devoted to silencing unarmed protesters in the form of women and the elderly would, no doubt, have the matter resolved by now.

The sad truth of the matter is that the government is lethargic where its perceived interests are not under threat. The doctors’ strike would have ended in the blink of an eye had it threatened the government’s hold on power.

That the strike is simply being felt immensely by the poor who rely on public medical facilities does not seem to be a solid issue at all. Candidly speaking, what we have is a tragedy for the poor. Had everyone else walked into Harare Hospital or Parirenyatwa for treatment where there is no running water, then the crisis would have been history.

Zimbabwe faces a predicament where the elites do not feel (of course they know of it) the magnitude of the calamity in hospitals. Voicing a concern and paying a few hours visit to the hospitals is one thing, being in the shoes of the masses is another.

Women have delivered on the floor unattended and otherwise healthy citizens have died from treatable diseases yet the sense of urgency in resolving the crisis remains absent.
In my analysis, it points to one thing; the crisis does not sufficiently warrant the attention and importance the ordinary man is giving it. It simply isn’t a top priority: The crisis, in other words, can be ignored while every other government function runs. It is quite tragic.

It’s a damning indictment on the Zimbabwean administration that should long have been resolved.

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