• BoNU wants sponsors to back out of “divisive” awards
• Calls on members and the public to shun the awards
The Botswana Nurses Union (BoNU) wants the government to abandon its plans of holding COVID-19 awards that are aimed at celebrating frontline workers in the fight against the global pandemic, The Botswana Gazette has established. BoNU considers the awards “divisive” and has appealed to members of the public to shun them. The organisation has reportedly written to two main sponsors of the awards, De Beers and Mascom, to “back out”. Another dissenting letter is said to have been written to the COVID-19 Task Force. Sources say both letters were delivered on Monday this week. BoNU president Obonolo Rahube has confirmed the letters being delivered to the sponsors and the task force this week but woud not elaborate. “We have called on Batswana to desist from partaking in such an exercise because it is divisive,” he added. “Our executive committee will be meeting to consult with members. We need the support of Batswana in this and it looks like we are in it for the long haul.” Meanwhile, a recent press statement from the COVID-19 Task Force said the awards would be themed “The Sweepstake” and that they sought to thank and celebrate frontline workers for their selflessness dedication to their work since the outbreak of COVID-19. “Six Batswana frontline workers will each win a Botswana diamond from De Beers Group while Mascom will award one hundred frontline workers with P100 000 worth of Wifi devices and mobile data,” the statement said. The Coordinator of the COVID-19 Task Force, Dr Kereng Masupu, said his team was delighted to partner with the De Beers and the private sector to honour the men and women who have demonstrated the highest level of patriotism, sacrificing their family time to focus on ensuring that Botswana is successful in its COVID-19 response. The Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Government Relations at De Beers, Pat Dambe, said the company is appreciative of the great work done by the government and the frontline workers to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the nation.