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Zim cops ignore court — stop injured doctors' union leader from travelling to SA

Zimbabwean police have prevented a doctors’ union leader, whose suspected kidnapping sparked wide protests, from going to neighbouring South Africa for medical treatment despite a court order, says a Mail & Guardian report.

Dr Peter Magombeyi, the president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association,had been due to take an evening flight to receive emergency treatment for suspected liver damage and his lawyers had earlier obtained a high court order to allow travel.

On 8 September, Magombeyi claimed he was receiving “death threats”. Six days later he disappeared. His last WhatsApp message said: “I have been kidnapped by 3 men.”

The report says Magombeyi was found on Thursday night 19 September, 30 kilometres from the capital Harare. He was alive and deeply traumatised.

This week dozens of policemen went to the Harare hospital where Magombeyi was undergoing treatment to prevent him from leaving for South Africa, one of his lawyers said.

The report says earlier in the day, a Harare court had ruled that Magombeyi should be allowed to go to South Africa for treatment. “The order stops the police from blocking Dr Magombeyi from travelling to South Africa to seek medical attention,” his lawyer Alec Muchadehamawho said.

The report says the information ministry late on Tuesday said the intervention was linked to a police decision to appeal the court ruling.

Magombeyi’s lawyers accuse police of camping outside and refusing him permission to leave for South Africa for urgent specialist treatment, says a 660City News report.

High Court Judge Happias Zhou ruled that Magombeyi is entitled to travel outside the country for treatment as he is not under arrest.

The 2019 class of graduating medical students at the University of Zimbabwe are to boycott their graduation ceremony at which they were due to be capped by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The Times reports that this was in solidarity with the perceived persecution of Magombeyi,

In a letter addressed to Mnangagwa, in his capacity as the university’s chancellor, the former students said they had resolved to boycott the graduation ceremony in solidarity with a "selfless individual who decided to put himself in the forefront in demanding a fair living wage for the health profession".

The letter was copied to the dean of students at the medical school. The report says the withdrawal from the graduation ceremony is the first direct resistance Mnangagwa has encountered from the doctors over the suspected abduction.

And in a bid to contain the crippling doctors’ strike, Zimabwe’s government has deployed doctors from the military to state hospitals. The Times quotes health minister Obadiah Moyo as saying that military doctors would provide services at public facilities as a “temporary measure”.

[link url="https://mg.co.za/article/2019-09-24-zimbabwe-police-bar-striking-doctor-from-going-abroad-for-treatment"]Mail & Guardian report[/link]

[link url="https://www.660citynews.com/2019/09/24/zimbabwe-judge-says-doctor-can-leave-country-for-treatment/"]660City News report[/link]

[link url="https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2019-09-19-graduating-zim-doctors-refuse-to-be-capped-by-mnangagwa/"]The Times report[/link]

[link url="https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/2019-09-17-military-takes-over-zim-hospitals-as-doctors-strike-over-abduction/"]The Times report[/link]

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