Harare — HUMAN rights groups have linked the dismissal of thousands of nurses in Zimbabwe to plans by the ruling party to eliminate a faction of the deposed longtime president, Robert Mugabe.
Ousted in a coup in November last year, the former president is the patron of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association whose 16 000 members recently embarked on industrial action demanding improved wages.
Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga, fired all the nurses on strike, which worsened the plight of patients in health facilities.
“The reason for firing the striking nurses was that there was a political agenda to the whole industrial action,” Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) stated.
A majority of the nurses have since returned to work.
Chiwenga, in his capacity as the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, masterminded the resignation of Mugabe last November, more than 37 years after the ruling Zimbabwe African Union- Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) assumed power.
ZPP argued the sacking of nurses highlighted the deepening factionalism within Zanu-PF and the need to silence G40 elements linked to the former first family.
G40, also known as Generation 40, refers to a faction of younger Zanu-PF influential members that positioned Mugabe’s wife, Grace, in line to succeed him.
The faction was opposed to the rise of Mugabe’s then-deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, now the president, to the presidency.
Among those are former cabinet ministers Saviour Kasukuwere, Prof. Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao, who fled to exile after Mugabe’s political demise.