ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe has been slammed for failing to act on Health Minister David Parirenyatwa who is at the centre of a $100,000 payment scandal involving his surgery and health insurer Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS).
However, presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, said his boss would be jumping the gun if he budged into what he claimed were private affairs between PSMAS and its membership.
Charamba cautioned against “inciting the President to act above the law”.
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said Friday President Mugabe must demonstrate his commitment to ending corruption within his government by firing Parirenyatwa.
We are urging Mugabe to fire Parirenyatwa if his hands are clean, Chihwayi told NewZimbabwe.com.
President Mugabe is dealing with merciless criminals who are taking advantage of his age and Zanu PF fragmentation to loot public funds.
Parirenyatwa, a medical doctor, is in the eye of the storm for abusing his influence to draw $23,000 in payment owed to his surgery for services rendered and an additional $77,000 advance payment from the troubled health insurer.
The under-fire minister has defended the act, saying it was common practice among health insurers and their clients.
The scam has ignited widespread demands for his resignation from medical practitioners who have gone for years without receiving their own payment from PSMAS.
Said Chihwayi: The deafening silence inside State House confirms Mugabe knowledge of the looted public funds.
Zanu PF has a bad habit of using public funds for their filthy and harmful activities.”
But reached for comment, Charamba was adamant President Mugabe would not run ahead of the largely civil servant-based PSMAS membership to deal with the matter.
Has PSMAS launched any action? Charamba responded when asked why President Mugabe has kept his silence on Parirenyatwa.
In government, that is where we begin. That organisation has members who are the ultimate authority. I hope you know how PSMAS works. It is a subscription-driven organisation; those are the bosses.
When they realise that their own management is acting against the interests of their organisation, they reserve the right to lead action to remedy an offence. Have they done that?”
Told it was up to Mugabe to also deal with his powerful ministers, Charamba was equally dismissive.
“Again this is where the problem is. This is an allegation made by people who seem to know PSMAS. The membership has not yet responded. PSMAS itself has not made any action.
“Don’t incite the President to act below and above the law. You dont do that; this is government.”
Critics have accused Mugabe, who has vowed “zero tolerance towards corruption”, of being reluctant to act on his corrupt comrades.
But Charamba would not let them get away with that.
He doesnot govern on the instructions of his critics. They are his critics anyway,” he quipped.
I would ask whether the person alleging reluctance stays with the President, works with him, sleeps with him. Because you cant interpret the President action from a remote distance.
He has ceased to run affairs of the state on the basis of the judgement of his critics. He will do things on the basis of right and fact.
However, Transparency International-Zimbabwe chair, Loughty Dube, said the fight against high level corruption was lost in the absence of any political will from the highest authority.
The issue of dealing with corruption is a political decision; there needs to be political will in any government to deal with it.
What that tells you is that in Zimbabwe there is no political will to deal with corruption.
Those are issues that in any society would raise a moral question around their happening.