Zanu-PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi has backed a now withdrawn claim by government spokesman Nick Mangwana that doctors were responsible for purposely killing several ruling party bigwigs who succumbed to Covid-19 last week – even as Mangwana issued an apology.
After taking flak from doctors and civil society groups, Mangwana walked back his remarks on Monday saying, “I withdraw [it] and apologise for any offense caused. I just hope we can move and not be distracted from work at hand.”
Still, Mugwadi would not let the bogus conspiracy theory die down.
He took to social media to call for an “investigation” and accused opposition MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti of colluding with medical personnel to target Zanu-PF politicians seeking treatment in hospitals while sabotaging the country’s healthcare delivery system.
“I stand with Cde Nick Mangwana and Advocate Tabani Mpofu (Zanu-PF lawyer). The deaths should be probed. Probing of deaths is a process to give families and the nation confidence in our health system,” Mugwadi tweeted.
“The sentiments coming from known opposition ranks like Tendai Biti who rejoice in the deaths of national cadres yet it is known factually that there have been numerous conspiracy games between them and doctors on strikes and stay-aways to releasing statements of fake abductions makes a strong case that can only be settled through a probe”
Several Zanu-PF and government officials died from coronavirus in rapid succession last week, including three cabinet ministers, Ellen Gwaradzimba, Biggie Matiza, and Sibusiso Moyo.
A fourth minister, Perrence Shiri, was the first high-level bureaucrat to fall last year.
Others include former Chitungwiza South lawmaker Christopher Chigumba, former Zimbabwe Prisons, and Correctional Services commissioner-general Paradzai Zimondi, and former minister of education Aeneas Chigwedere.
Mangwana and Mugwadi appear to be reading from their master’s playbook after President Emmerson Mnangagwa branded healthcare employees “dark forces” and “bad apples” for protesting poor working conditions, lack of equipment, and meager wages in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic last year.
A few weeks ago Mugwadi sparked a diplomatic incident with South Africa after threatening to drop a “bombshell” on officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) if they failed to muzzle SABC foreign affairs editor Sophie Mokoena for reporting critically on the Zanu-PF government.
The controversy was elevated to national status after President Cyril Ramaphosa and other top ANC officials weighed in, forcing Zanu-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo to reprimand Mugwadi, calling him mischievous and promising disciplinary action.