BY SIBONGiNKOSI MAPHOSA
Zapu has condemned an alleged police clampdown against villagers in Mangwe after the community staged a protest against the alleged unfair recruitment of student nurses at Brunapeg Hospitals.
The villagers, who were led by Zapu officials, last week temporarily, closed the Catholic Church-run hospitals, accusing authorities of only recruiting students from outside the region.
Hospital authorities said they had nothing to do with the recruitment as it was done through a centralised government platform.
Prince Bhutshe, the Zapu lawyer, said one of the villagers identified as Nelson Khupe was charged for allegedly mobilising villagers that held similar protests at St Anne’s Hospital.
“The police have decided to charge Nelson Khupe and they have issued him a warned and cautioned statement,” Bhutshe said.
“They allege that my client mobilised villagers to protest at St Anne’s Hospital on the day in question.
“They they said that he did that without police consent and clearance.”
He said police alleged that the protesters were carrying placards that read “remove sanctions in Matabeleland”, “devolution is the solution” and “local jobs for local people”.
On Friday, Zapu interim president Isaac Mabuka told journalists in Bulawayo that the party was stepping up its fight to have the devolution of power provisions in the constitution implemented to address the alleged marginilisation of Matebeleland.
Mabuka cited the alleged recruitment of student nurses from outside the region by local hospitals.
“We have been seized with a fact finding mission for the past four weeks following an outcry from the citizens of this country over the unfair recruitment of student nurses,” he said.
“Zapu wants devolution of power to be implemented as per section 14 of the constitution so that local people benefit from their resources.”
The party has also held demonstrations at Mpilo Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals over the recruitment of student nurses.
Last week, the government announced that it had started recruiting students nurses countrywide through its online platform and the exercise will be concluded at the end of the month.