Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders) is investigating the conduct of its four workers who were last week chased from Beitbridge by the local authority for engaging in political activities following the discovery of subversive material at their offices recently, an official has said. Hanna Mari Majenen, project co-ordinator (Finland), Alexandro
Arantegui Gracia (Spain), project co-ordinator, Trevor Mashingaidze (Logistician) and the finance administrator Nokuthula Sibanda were expelled from the district following the discovery of minutes and documents about the political meeting they had convened on June 13.
MSF Intersectional spokesman Mr Stambuli Kim said on Tuesday that their head of mission Mr Victor Gracia Lanor was already in Beitbridge engaging the authorities over the issue.
He said their human resources department would make requisite recommendations with regards to the four members of staff who were chased away from Beitbridge upon completion of investigations.
He said Majenen left the country last week since her mission had ended, while Alexandro had just spent two months in Zimbabwe.
“Our head of mission is already in Beitbridge where MSF is co-operating with all the relevant authorities in order to investigate and clarify this issue so that it is resolved,” said Mr Kim.
“As a medical humanitarian organisation, MSF is only committed to giving medical care to people caught in crisis, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. MSF’s work is based on neutrality and impartiality principles and medical ethics.
“I want to make it clear that as an organisation we are only focused on treating patients; there is no political agenda behind our medical activi- ties.
“In Beitbridge, as in the rest of the country, MSF is working in close collaboration with the authorities. Since the beginning of the project, more than 6 700 patients have started HIV treatment,” he said.
Mr Kim said the main objective of the organisation was to seek audience with the district administrator and other authorities to allow them to continue its regular activities and to ensure proper HIV and TB prevention, treatment and care in the district.
He said they had been working in Zimabbwe since 2000 in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare providing care to people with HIV, TB, DR-TB and victims of sexual and gender-based Violence.
The acting district administrator for Beitbridge Mr Peter Moyo said yesterday that he met Mr Lanor and reiterated his position that the four staff implicated in holding a political meeting were no longer welcome in Beitbridge.
“I told him that we are not fighting the organistaion but we are not happy with the conduct of the four employees,” he said.
“We agreed that they can continue with the humanitarian work and not meddle in the local politics. We will not take lightly those who would want to stray from our memorandum of understanding (MoU).”
He said the four held a political meeting on June 13 at their offices where they discussed issues including the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, the harmonised elections and alleged intimidation of members of the public by the police.
They also discussed how best they could use medical assistance to access politically strategic areas among other issues which all fall outside their mandate and memorandum of understanding with Government to complement health intervention programmes.