By Anyway Yotamu.
Fired doctors to return to work within two days without reapplying or being questioned, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
Speaking after meeting Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) at State House Thursday, President Mnangagwa gave the doctors a reprieve.
The President told journalists soon after a two and half hour meeting with the Catholic Bishops and agreed to their request regarding the sacked doctors.
“The bishops sent us a Pastoral letter with a lot of issues they were raising across the board and asking to meet us as leadership of the country. We acceded to their request and we have discussed these issues,” he said.
“I think the major issue that we have covered is the health sector and national health delivery, economic situation and social conditions of the people in the country, the political situation and the role and relations of political parties and national dialogue and last, Government, churches and civil society interaction.
“We covered all those areas. We found it very fruitful, the contribution by the bishops who came to meet us. Then, they requested for a moratorium on the question of doctors for two days.”
Archbishop Robert Christopher Ndlovu echoed, President Mnangagwa’s sentiments saying their discussions covered a wide range of issues.
“We discussed a lot of issues which include the striking doctors,” he said
“What we managed to extract from Government was that they agreed to give dismissed and doctors a moratorium for two days to report for duty without having to reapply. They don’t need to apply as it had been decided by Cabinet. That one, Government has committed to that.
“The second thing is that we are happy to hear the Government say they are going to help us to equip our mission hospitals also provide drugs.
“We discussed, of course, the economic situation, Government explaining the difficulties that are there and the efforts that they are also making and I think that is the main thing.”
On political dialogue, Archbishop Ndlovu said: “I don’t think there is any change.
“The President is still committed to dialogue, and of course he says what is important is that they all come together.
“It is not a question of Zanu-PF or MDC, but all the political players and he is open to that. That is what he said. He said he is still open to anyone including the President of MDC-A Mr Nelson Chamisa.” said Archbishop Robert Ndlovu.
The doctors were dismissed after being found guilty of absenteeism following a court ruling declaring their strike illegal.
Disciplinary hearings were then instituted by the Health Services Board against those doctors who failed to report for duty after the ruling, leading to the dismissal of more than 400 doctors across the country.