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The hospital was a brainchild of Nkomo and was closed in 2004 afteronly three months of being opened after failing to meet minimum standards required by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare for a medical centre.

The ZHCT chaired by Vice-President John Nkomo comprises deputy chairperson Dr Daud Dube, the late VP Nkomo’s daughter Thandiwe, the National University of Science and Technology’s Professor Lindela Ndlovu and Zanu PF politburo member Joshua Malinga.

It has led efforts to re-open the medical facility for over a decade in vain as the massive health institution located in the Hillside suburb of Bulawayo remains a white elephant.

According to Ekusileni Medical Centre confidential documents compiled by the Zimbabwe Leadership Forum (Zimlef)and made available to the Zimbabwe Independent, the ZHCT said it required US$80 million to operationalise the institution over the next two years.

Once in operation, the hospital would run 23 departments and 157 beds which will increase to 265 on completion. However, US$7 million is required to upgrade the hospital and US$30 million going towards purchasing of critical equipment. The hospital also requires a staff complement of over 1 000, which includes nurses, consultants, secretaries and physicians.

Efforts to resuscitate the hospital have been derailed by the ZHCT board’s poor meeting attendances and recurring and unplanned deficits.

The board has been accused of failing to communicate with the executive director while other board members are accused of back-biting.

The documents also show that Ekusileni Medical Centre owed US$1,3 million in unpaid operational costs recorded in 2004.

At a meeting held at the hospital on March 24, Thandiwe Nkomo demanded financial results showing the outstanding amounts and indicating the previous board led by the late former Vice-President Joseph Msika cleared the arrears.

Zimlef said there have been challenges securing adequate funding to open the facility and run it.

It said activity within the trust was  slow, leading to a degree of apathy amongst the trustees as well as other stake holders.

Other challenges blamed for lack of progress at Ekusileni, as noted by Zimlef, are underfunding of the public healthcare sector, perennial water problems in Bulawayo,  skills flight and the economic meltdown that gripped Zimbabwe before 2009.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from VP Nkomo and Dube were unsuccessful.

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