Cimas feasts amid crisis

Cimas public relations officer Bekhimpilo Ntini refused to comment on the matter.

MEDICAL aid provider Cimas Health Group splashed thousands on its lavish end-of-year party at a time when subscribers and members struggle to access basic medical services, sparking outrage and accusations of misplaced priorities.

The opulent end-of-year party was held at Andy Miller Hall in Harare on Friday.

Stepping onto the plush red carpet, guests were immediately transported into a world of opulence.

The stage, bathed in the spotlight’s soft focus, stood poised for the evening’s entertainment.

Its polished black surface gleamed like obsidian, reflecting the vibrant hues of the projected company logo that danced across the back wall.

Towering truss structures framed the performance area, rigged with an arsenal of intelligent lighting fixtures that promised a dazzling display of beams and washes.

Enter Nutty O, Zimbabwe’s undisputed dancehall guru to the stage.

As the first chords of Handipere Power ripped through the speakers, the anticipation morphed into an eruption.

The crowd surged forward, a sea of hands reaching towards the stage as Nutty O, bathed in pulsating red light, stepped into the spotlight.

The grand entrance was matched with a near flawless hour performance.

As the lights dimmed and the anticipation crackled in the air, a roar erupted from the crowd as ExQ, Zimbabwe’s energetic king of urban grooves, took to the stage.

Dressed in his signature vibrant attire, a contagious grin dancing on his lips, he immediately commanded the room with his infectious energy.

The first pulsating notes of his hit song Pahukama throbbed through the speakers, igniting the already buzzing atmosphere.

ExQ, a master of stage presence, owned the space, dancing with an effortless swagger that mirrored the rhythmic pulsations of the music.

He seamlessly transitioned between his biggest hits, from the soulful melodies of Nhema to the electrifying rhythm of Bhachura, with each song eliciting a fresh wave of enthusiasm from the audience.

A row of plush white couches, arranged in a crescent moon formation upstairs, offered VIP 

guests a front-row view of the festivities.

Upholstered in a luxurious faux fur, the couches gleamed under the soft glow of strategically placed fairy lights.

Silver throw pillows, embroidered with the company’s logo in a subtle shimmer, added a touch of understated elegance.

There was an array of culinary delights catering to every palate, offering Cimas workers familiar Western favourites and the vibrant flavours of Zimbabwean cuisine.

 Each bite was a journey through different cultures and culinary traditions, making the food another highlight of the extravagant evening.

Throughout the gala, waiters circulated with trays laden with beer bottles and cans, ensuring that refreshments were always within reach.

Whether guests were mingling close to the stage, relaxing on the white couches, or savouring the diverse meals, they could always raise a toast with a chilled beer, adding another layer of festivity to the extravagant evening.

“We have done away with the ticket system, all those who want traditional food and beers, can just go and collect,” said the director of ceremonies.

The entire setup exuded an air of sophistication and exclusivity, hinting at the calibre of performances and guests that would grace the stage throughout the night.

It was a space designed to impress, to transport attendees into a world of glitz and glamour where the ordinary was suspended and the extraordinary took centre stage.

Beneath the glittering facade of Cimas’ lavish end-of-year bash, where Nutty O’s beats pulsed and ExQ’s energy electrified, simmered a stark reality for many members: A desperate struggle for basic healthcare

Claims languish unprocessed, service shortfalls abound, and the extravagant celebration leaves a bitter taste in members’ mouths.

“My son needs specialist care for his heart condition,” Harare resident Nicollete Chibonda shared, her voice cracking with frustration.

“The claim has been stuck for months and everyday without treatment feels like a ticking bomb.”

Another member Jacob Ncube, a diabetic patient, echoed similar sentiments.

“My insulin refill request keeps getting rejected. Without it, I face dangerous complications,” he said.

Across the country, similar stories paint a poignant picture of hardship.

The company is also embroiled in a messy internal dispute fuelled by accusations of mismanagement hurled by its general manager Sacrifice Madenyika Chirisa.

Chirisa raised concerns about financial irregularities, questionable business practices, and a culture of nepotism within the company.

Chirisa, who is in charge of Cimas facilities like clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies, alleged that chief executive officer Vulindlela Ndlovu said the chief executive had made several questionable  business decisions.

He alleges reckless expansion projects, including the baffling renovation of a rented Borrowdale clinic for a staggering US$2 million, a sum unlikely to be recouped by the business operating there.

Cimas public relations officer Bekhimpilo Ntini refused to comment on the matter.

 “I cannot comment on the issues you raised, it needs the executive he said,” he said.

In a recent update, Cimas said the society was in a sound financial position, contrary to the impression that may have been created by Press reports.

It said internal processes were underway to look into the allegations.

The echoes of Nutty O’s Handipere Power may have faded, but the anger and frustration among Cimas members remain.

The company’s future depends on whether it chooses to listen to the beat of discontent or continue dancing to its own tune.

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