Zimbabwe: VP Appointed as Health Minister after COVID-19 Scandal

Zimbabwean president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has appointed vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, as the government’s new minister of health and subsequent leader of the country’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The former health minister, Obadiah Moyo, was fired on 8 July, after allegations of corruption – involving the illegal awarding of a government tender for COVID-19 supplies worth $20 million – surfaced the month before.

The president’s office released a statement on Tuesday, 4 August, confirming Chiwenga’s appointment, which enables him to “stabilise, restructure and reform” the department, so that the southern African nation’s healthcare system can tackle COVID-19.

Zimbabwe currently has 4 221 cases of the virus, and 81 citizens have lost their lives according to official records.

However, the official opposition – the Movement for Democratic Change – were not pleased with the news, calling it a “gross display of incompetence” due to his inexpertise in medicine.

For the past two decades, the Zimbabwean health sector has suffered alongside many other industries due to the country’s ailing economy. Public healthcare faces daily shortages of basic drugs and equipment, while staff are overworked and underpaid.