Zille: Mugabe dying in Singapore after destroying the Zim health system is ironic

Zille: Mugabe dying in Singapore after destroying the Zim health system is ironic

Zille, has a more prolific public profile, but has led the party before. Some classical liberals believe its Waters' turn to hold the fort and take the party back to its old values. FILE PICTURE: Helen Zille. Picture: Neil McCartney

During his time in power, the liberator-turned-dictator sought almost all his medical care in the Asian country rather than his own.

Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille commented on the passing of Zimbabwe’s founding president Robert Mugabe, highlighting what she saw as the irony of him having died in a Singapore hospital.

This was by way of a reaction to a tweet from DA MP Ghaleb Cachalia, who made it clear that he would not be mourning the passing of the liberation hero turned despot.

“When dictators die, I shed no tears. Especially those who murdered tens if thousands, and ruined their countries with disastrous policies. Even if they were the ‘liberators’ from another extractive regime, they are guilty of much, and can claim little respect,” Cachalia tweeted.

Zille, who is currently a policy fellow at classical liberal think-tank the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) following the end of her tenure as Western Cape premier, soon added her own opinion to Cachalia’s on Twitter.

“And the ultimate irony is that after destroying his country’s infrastructure, including the nascent health system, he apparently died in Singapore. This is the place from which South Africans mourning Mugabe’s death think we have nothing to learn,” she said.

Zille’s point about Mugabe’s death in a Singapore hospital and his impact on the country’s health system was also made independently by other people on the social media platform.

Mugabe passed away in a hospital in Singapore after a long battle with ill health. He turned 95 in February.

Zimbabwe’s public health services have practically collapsed, and those who can afford it seek treatment in South Africa or further abroad. Mugabe during his time in power sought almost all his medical care in Singapore.

In 2017, Mugabe was chosen as the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) goodwill ambassador, sparking outrage which then led to his removal by the WHO, a United Nations-run (UN) agency.

Under Mugabe’s rule, life expectancy in Zimbabwe dived from 61 in 1985 to just 44 in 2002, before recovering to 60 today, due largely to international aid, according to AFP.

READ MORE: Robert Mugabe dies aged 95

The major causes of the country’s health crisis have been the collapse of healthcare, falling standards of living as the economy has crumbled, and the struggle to tackle HIV-AIDS, experts say.

At the large public hospital near the capital Harare, doctors have reported that syringes, surgical gloves and basic painkillers are all in short supply day-to-day.

In January this year, Mnangagwa announced a 150% fuel price increase, triggering countrywide protests which left at least 17 people dead and scores injured when soldiers opened fire on unarmed demonstrators.

In hospitals, patients were neglected while medical staff went on strike. Doctors demanded, among other things, to be paid in US dollars, GroundUp reported at the time.

(Background reporting, AFP and GroundUp)

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