By Staff Reporter
The appointment of Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga at the helm of Ministry of Health and Child Care comes at a time when the sector is grappling a plethora of challenges which inevitably invite his attention.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an incurable malady which the health sector has been working round the clock in finding strategic measures to counter the spread of the malady in the country. Issues of concern revolve around capacitation of employees at health institutions and the urgent need to restore sanitation.
Amid all these, Vice President Chiwenga will have an urgent call to resolve contentious issues unfolding at NatPharm, one of the entities under health sector.
The world of medical practitioners seemed to have celebrated the recent move as they urge VP Chiwenga to start by overlooking into the affairs of Natpham debacle.
Stanley Tavaziva, UK based and renowned political commentator expressed optimism on Chiwenga’s appointment which will also help tackle corruption, a germ of destruction that eroded Natpharm.
“General Chiwenga is a no-nonsense man who is committed to fighting corruption in government institutions. His coming in as the health minister comes as a relief because there are reports of rampant corruption at most health institutions. I am particularly hopeful that General Chiwenga will immediately resolve squabbles among board members and the management at NatPharm,” said political commentator based in the United Kingdom, Mr. Stanley Tavaziva.
On record NatPharm board led by Dr. Billy Rigava is comprised of sound and compitant individuals. The success stories reach so far, has been spearheaded by the chairperson, who is a medical doctor with vast experience in the medical field, a prominent lawyer, a procurement specialist, a banker and pharmacists among others.
The board fell into the hands of saboteurs which saw it dragged to the courts over flimsy allegations that pertains to a legal termination of NatPharm’s former managing director’s contract.
The matter saw one of the axed senior managers whose contract was terminated on notice resorted to oppose the board’s decision.
Desperation and thirst to continue fighting the board, the fired manager resorted to approach Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission(ZAAC) in connivance with a purported whistleblower, alleging that the board had not terminated former NatPharm MD’s contract.
It was later discovered that the reported issue was already brought to the attention of the parent Ministry around 2018.
Soon after appointment in July 2019, the current board became seized with the issue. Unknown to the whistleblower, at the time of making the report, the board had already terminated the said contract of employment of the MD.
“To me this is a labour issue which is not supposed to be handled by ZACC. The coming in of the Public Entities Corporate Governance Act in 2018 has affected most corporate entities that now need to align their day-to-day running to the new law.
“One such law is that under Section 17 Subsection 1 (b) it stipulates that “notwithstanding no other enactment, no person shall be appointed as chief executive officer of a public entity – (a)…(b) if he or she has already served as chief executive officer of the entity for one or more periods whether consecutive or not, amounting in the aggregate to 10 years,” Harare based advocate told Spotlight Online News Africa on anonymity.
The germ of distraction impeding progress at NatPharm is also believed to be hauling down affairs of entities such as ZESA, ZUPCO and TelOne among others.
Procedurally NatPharm’s administrative issues might be illegible to invite the attention of ZACC officers.
Against such a background, NatPharm’s current board is said to have condemned failure by the NatPharm to follow laid down procurement procedures in a number of contracts including the much-publicised Drax corruption saga.
These are are some of the pertinent issues that VP Chiwenga will inevitably need to preside over following his recent appointment by the President.
It is recommendable that he strengthens the existing and efficient board that upholds good Corporate Governance tenets without entertaining unruly manipulation from managers.