VICE PRESIDENT Constantino Chiwenga who doubles as Health and Child Care minister is in the eye of a storm following revelations that he instructed his deputy and personal doctor, John Mangwiro, to fast-track the US$5,6 million Covid-19 materials tender scam.
This was revealed by the deputy minister himself in a statement on Monday following a scathing article which appeared in State media on Sunday.
“It is not correct that I interfered with the bidding process. On August 14, 2020 at around 2100 hours I received a phone call from the Hon Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care (Chiwenga). He wanted me to get an update on what was causing the delays to the procurement of the Covid-19 requirements,” said Dr Mangwiro.
The Health deputy minister deputises Chiwenga. He is also a personal doctor of the feared VP having spent months with him in South Africa and China when Chiwenga fell critically ill in 2019.
Dr Mangwiro said he convened the meeting at night as it was an “emergency”.
“I could not sleep over an emergency and as such I called (acting NatPharm managing director) Mr Zealous Nyabadza to urgently convene a meeting to appraise me on what was causing the delays. Mr Z Nyabadza explained that Young Health Care Limited had won the tender to supply some of the equipment,” said Dr Mangwiro.
The Health ministry is apparently both a cash cow and source of conflict for factions supporting President Mnangagwa on one hand and his deputy, Chiwenga, on the other.
Mnangagwa’s close ally and appointee to the Health ministry, Obadiah Moyo, was ousted from government in dramatic fashion in July this year after he was fingered in a US$60 million dollar Covid-19 tender scandal.
Chiwenga then took over the ministry after a prolonged leadership vacuum at the ministry. Interestingly his close ally is now being accused of the same crime.