The Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) will head to an elective congress which starts today (Wednesday) until Friday in Francistown to elect new leadership.
BONU Secretary General Lebogang Philip told this publication that all preparations have been made in the lead up to the congress adding that 4 union members have declared their interest to contest for the Presidency.
“We are heading to our annual general conference which starts today and it will end on Friday,” said Philip.
Philip added that they have received names of Unanangoni Modo, Seabelo Chigagane, Glan Tshenyego and Peter Baleseng seeking to succeed the outgoing union leader Obonolo Rahube.
“I want to believe that all candidates running for the Presidency of the union are capable of leading the masses especially during such a time when we are faced with a lot of challenges. We need a new committee that will be able to continue with the advocacy role of our members,” he said.
For his part the aspiring union President Seabelo Chigagane indicated that his primary objective will be to advocate for the conditions of service of nurses.
“Government had long indicated that nurses are part of the essential service but compared to other essential service providers within the public service sector you will find that nurses are riddled with a lot of challenges such as lack of free accommodation and subsidized water and electricity bills,” said Chigagane.
He further said he will also address the scheme of service for nursing as it has proven that government still fails to promote nurses.
Another Presidential hopeful Peter Baleseng said he intends to fight government to ensure that all nurses are given free accommodation as an essential service package.
He further said he also plans to engage government on why it is still difficult to consider paying nurses a scarce skill allowance.
“There are many issues that I will engage government on including issues around safety in the workplace. We need to be safe and compensated for any injury that we encounter in the workplace,” he said.
On the other hand, Glan Tshenyego said there is need to advocate for parallel progression adding that nurses struggle to be promoted.
He also stated that he will encourage government to form partnerships with companies and parastatals to help nurses to have free accommodation.
“I have quite a lot of issues I want to take government head on. I want to see nurses being trained across different specialties,” he said.
Tshenyego also said nurses should be empowered to open their own private practice.