Striking medical doctors have rejected a request by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to return to their workstations, while their demands are being looked at.

In a stinging statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) passed a no confidence vote in Health minister David Parirenyatwa accusing of negotiating in bad faith.

“Negotiations are being done in bad faith, with gross misrepresentation of facts by the ministry and minister. The reason why we have reached this critical point is that we accepted promises before from the same minister and ministry since 2014 and these continue to be broken.

“The ministry continues to threaten our members in an attempt to coerce them back to work. If they were genuinely working on these issues, why then threaten members,” the statement said.

The doctors demanded that Mnangagwa put his promises in writing.

“In view of these issues raised, members would like to thank His Excellency, the President for his intervention. He is a man of his word and we believe that he will act with the urgency he has always shown. We would also like to express lack of confidence in the minister and ministry and, as such, we feel that we will be shortchanged like before, as all communication go through the ministry.

“Members have, therefore, resolved to remain on strike until a solution has been tabled on paper and goes through the proper legal channels. We believe a commitment on paper should not take long. We also await action in providing the materials to use in our hospitals,” ZHDA said.

The strike by doctors, which started on March 1, has paralysed most public hospitals.

“ZHDA has brought this to the attention of members and these are some of the concerns raised. The Health ministry has dragged its feet since January 23 this year to fix our issues and has shown no urgency even during the strike (sic). They do not value ordinary citizens’ life and have lied to the Press and public several times,” the statement read in part.

This is the first public sector strike since Mnangagwa took over as President in November last year.

Zimbabwe’s health delivery system has not been spared the ravages of the economic meltdown of the last 20 years, with patients reportedly dying of ailments that ordinarily would have been treated.