Striking nurses granted $1 000 bail each

Nurses, who were arrested on Monday at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital after engaging in protests demanding United States dollar salaries, were yesterday granted $1 000 bail each by Mbare magistrate Stan Mambanje.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE/PRECIOUS CHIDA/ PHYLLIS MBANJE

The accused persons — Ndadyei Gudza (41), Raikai Chibharo (32), Moses Ray Sigauke (30), Michelle Magonye (33), Kumbirai Maiswa (30), Trish Chireka (38), Nyasha Kapesi (27), Evermay Chikoka (33), Samson Gurupira, Moses Chibaro (33), Lucas Sharara (22) and Laiza Kagwizi (42) — appeared before Mambanje charged with contravening the COVID-19 lockdown laws.

The nurses are stationed at Parirenyatwa, Chitungwiza Central and Sally Mugabe hospitals.

According to court papers, on Monday morning, police gathered information that there was an intended demonstration by nurses at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital.

The police then went there and found about 100 health workers already gathered at the main entrance.

It is alleged the law enforcement agents identified Evermay Chikoka, Samson Gurupira and Moses Chibaro as the leaders of the group.

Police then ordered the health workers to disperse saying their gathering was in violation of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, but the latter refused and went on to sing while waving placards.

It is alleged the police arrested 13 nurses and two of them paid admission of guilt fines at Mbare Police Station.

Among the arrested nurses at Sally Mugabe Hospital were two who are reportedly breastfeeding, but had to spend the night at Mbare Police Station.

Yesterday, other health workers including nurses and doctors engaged in another protest at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in solidarity with their arrested colleagues.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enock Dongo said the arrest was uncalled for, considering that concerns being raised were genuine.

“Two of the females who were arrested are breastfeeding mothers and had to spend the night in remand. We agreed that we would meet occasionally and many have been staying peacefully at their homes,” he said.

Emmanuel Masosota of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association said they were in solidarity with the striking nurses and were in agreement with their grievances.

“If you injure a nurse, who do I work with as a doctor? Release those arrested and then we can talk about all the other issues. No one should be arrested while working. It is wrong for employees to struggle and yet they are qualified,” Masosota said.

The health workers yesterday presented a petition to the Health Service Board before being surrounded by riot police and dispersed with no
incident.

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