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Zimbabwean president back at work early to deal with doctors’ strike

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Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been forced to cut his annual vacation to deal with a month-long strike by doctors that has paralysed public hospitals.

Mnangagwa said in a statement on Tuesday, 1 January 2019, night that he would immediately resume duty as the government seeks a solution to the paralysis in the public health sector that has been caused by the strike by junior doctors.

“I have cut short my leave to be in immediate and active consultation with the Acting President in resolving the situation in the health sector,” Mnangagwa said.

The decision by Mnangagwa to cut short his annual vacation comes in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga that the government had reached a deadlock in its negotiations with the striking doctors.

The doctors have been refusing to go to work since 1 December 2018 in protest of poor working conditions at public hospitals and low remuneration. Among other things, the doctors are demanding to be paid in United States dollars.

In a New Year’s Day message, Chiwenga said the government could not afford to pay salaries in US dollars.

A former army chief, he reiterated an earlier threat to dismiss the striking doctors, a move that appears not to be working as the doctors remain adamant that they would not go back to work unless their demands are met.


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