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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has come under fire from political opponents who accuse the veteran leader and his family of snubbing local hospitals for those abroad when poor citizens are condemned to poor medical services back home.

This is after the First Lady Grace Mugabe was this past week reportedly flown to Dubai to seek treatment on an ailment suspected to be colon cancer.

It is the second time in three months the Zanu PF women’s league boss has accessed medical services in a foreign country while her powerful husband is known for patronising Singaporean hospitals.

In interviews with NewZimbabwe.com at the weekend, the MDC-T and the MDC Renewal parties savaged Mugabe for turning his back on a country he prides himself in having liberated.

“As MDC, we have always said that it is best for government to resource and capacitate the domestic health delivery system so that all Zimbabweans benefit,” said MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu.

“The mere fact that they rush to travel outside Zimbabwe to seek medical attention whenever they need such treatment is a sad indictment of Robert Mugabe’s 35 year old rule that we have had a health delivery system that used to be the pride of Africa, now it has been reduced to a ramshackle health delivery system particularly in public health.”

President Mugabe, who is reportedly battling chronic illness worsened by old age, has now increased his frequenting of doctors in Singapore to seek treatment.

Critics say some of the services that Mugabe would rather seek abroad are available locally, albeit too expensive.

Gutu said it was sad that Mugabe and his family were leaving the country’s poorly equipped hospitals to Zimbabweans who are not so privileged to fly abroad

to seek better services.

“This should actually be a moment for Mr Mugabe and his cronies to reflect,” he said.

“They should actually be terribly ashamed that they have run down a health delivery system that used to be highly sophisticated and now when they get sick, they themselves are the first to catch the first flight out of the country to seek medical treatment outside our borders.”

Similarly, the MDC Renewal Team’s spokesperson Jacob Mafume had no kind words for the 91 year old leader.

“It is a sad indictment that 35 years after independence, the people who govern us would rather not step into a local hospital or be seen by a local doctor,” said Mafume.

“They would rather export their healing to external physicians and institutions. It clearly shows that even themselves have absolutely no confidence in the way they have run the country they would rather be treated elsewhere.”

Mafume drew parallels with neighbouring South Africa where leaders such as former President Nelson Mandela died in a local hospital.

But President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba jumped to the veteran leader’s defence, insisting the first family had a right to choose where to get the best medical services.

“Any Zimbabwean, big or small, has a right to seek medical attention wherever they please, handiti? And the issue is where you get the best attention handiti? And it’s about specialisation,” Charamba told Newzimbabwe.com.

“Hakuna nyika iri (No country is) so self-sufficient in terms of medical attention. I mean you have seen Presidents going elsewhere. Is that new to you? Ndo first family yawanzwa inoenda kunotsvaga medical attention outside the country?”

NB: Elsewhere, we publish a full transcript of Charamba responding to the issue.

Source : New Zimbabwe