BONU Threatens Govt with Legal Action

  • Orders ministry to cease from ordering nurses to dispense medicines
  • Says MoH conduct amounts to aiding and abetting a criminal offence


The Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) has threatened to institute legal proceedings against the Ministry of Health (MoH) if it does not stop ordering nurses to dispense medicines.
In a letter that followed MoH’s press release that ordered nurses and midwives to continue dispensing medicines, lawyers acting for BONU, Manewe Tobedza &Co, demanded the ministry to cease and desist from ordering BONU members to perform duties of dispensary of medicines at their places of employment.

Suitable remedy
The union’s lawyers also ordered the ministry to stop issuing press releases that further perpetrate what it calls criminal conduct. “Failure to adhere to client’s demands shall result in legal proceedings being instituted against the ministry for a suitable remedy at the court of law,” the lawyers warned.
“It is on record that the union has brought the above to the attention of both the ministry and Directorate of Public Service Management and indicated that in light of the fact that the issue involves possible criminal sanctions to its members, it will advise its members to cease and desist from further dispensing medicines.
“However, the unfortunate response from the ministry has been to importune, threaten and intimidate nurses into continuing with the performance of the above mentioned acts of criminality. We are advised that the ministry has even demanded that it be furnished with the names of non-compliant nurses.”

Shameful and wanton
BONU’s lawyers added that the conduct of the ministry amounts to aiding and abetting nurses to commit a crime, which is a criminal offence on its own. “In short, the ministry has not only been committing a criminal offence, but it also appears that it brazenly wants to continue committing the said criminal offence which, needless to say, is a shameful and wanton act.”
BONU’s threat came after MoH disregarded express concerns of the union about nurses and midwives dispensing medicines. The union recently ordered nurses and midwives to stop doing so citing violation of the nursing code of ethics.
However, MoH responded by telling nurses and midwives to continue dispensing medicines because processes to justify such duties were underway.