The Sunday Mail
LOCAL traditionalists have expressed outrage against Traditional Medical Practitioner’s Council board chair, Mr Friday Chisanyu who they claim is usurping the benefits associated with the post to advance the interests of his own association.
Mr Chisanyu who is the first practitioner to chair the TMPC board since 1980 is being accused of advancing the interests of Zimbabwe National Practitioners Association (Zinpa) at the expense of other associations and practitioners.
TMPC is an arm of the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Its’ mandate is to regulate traditional medical activities in Zimbabwe.
Reports say the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa had to call for an emergency meeting about two months ago to find a solution as some members were pushing for of a vote of no confidence against the traditionalist.
The source added that there is now a conflict of interest in the way Mr Chisanyu is going about his duties.
At one point, the source said, they sent their representatives to collect registration fees from practitioners but discovered Zinpa had claimed the registration fees.
“I think there is a conflict of interests, as the chairman of TMPC, Sekuru Chisanyu should advice people to register with the regulator first before associations. But what is happening means that he has not yet understood his mandate,” said the official.
Traditionalists who spoke to The Sunday Mail Society highlighted that Mr Chisanyu was violating the Traditional Medical Practitioners Act by prioritising critical information and programmes which are beneficial to traditionalists for the advancement of traditional medicine in Zimbabwe to his association.
They said this is a direct threat to the development of traditional medicine in Zimbabwe.
“The main responsibility of the TMPC board chairperson is to supervise and control the practice of traditional medical practitioners in Zimbabwe.
“And also to promote the practice of traditional medical practitioners as well as to foster research into, and develop the knowledge of, such practice. But Sekuru Chisanyu is doing the opposite.
“He is always seeking to advance the interests of his association,” said one traditionalist based in Mbare.
Another added that, “Practitioners who are members of Zinpa are being treated differently than others. They are the ones who get critical information first before anyone else. But we can’t all be members of Zinpa.”
Said another traditionalist: “Our biggest problem is that we do not know where to go if we encounter challenges as traditionalists.
“We kindly request the ministry responsible for traditional medicine to intervene and help us as we are striving to develop traditional medicine. I am sure all over the country our grievances are the same,” said the source.
As the responsible ministry, deputy minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Aldrin Musiiwa highlighted that the board chairman is inexperienced and needs massive hand holding.
“Generally we are working well at TMPC but it’s only that our board chairman is inexperienced, he needs guidance here and there. That is why we are working closely with him.
“When the new board was appointed the minister ordered that they go through an orientation. The reason was to equip them to be competent and also to understand their roles and responsibilities,” said Dr Musiiwa.
“The other purpose of orientation was to enable the new board to distinguish between (roles of) associations and TMPC since a number of them were coming from associations,” he said.
He added that TMPC is the regulator of traditional practitioners and it is a crime for traditionalists to operate without a license from the regulator.
“We gave practitioners up until September to register. Everyone who will be found wanting will be arrested.”
“If we don’t take traditional medicine seriously it means that a number of our people will be attended to by practitioners whose identity we don’t know which is extremely dangerous.
“As the ministry we are doing whatever we can to develop traditional medicine, and last month we sent the TMPC Registrar, Ms Joyce Guhwa to China to study and observe their traditional medicine operations,” he said.
Contacted for comment Mr Chisanyu said he was not aware of the allegations being levelled against him.
“I am the chairman of TMPC and we produced a work plan that we are currently working on. The work plan encourages practitioners to register with TMPC so I cannot contradict myself.
“I think there are people who are fighting me but I will continue to do the job I was appointed for,” said Sekuru Chisanyu.
Mr Chisanyu was appointed TMPC board chair in January this year.