Plans To Form New Nurses Union Loyal To Gvt Exposed

A new nursing labour organization is reportedly on the cards as a ploy by government and the Health Services Board (HSB) to frustrate dissenting voices from within the nursing profession as well as neutralize the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA) and have individuals loyal to government occupying key positions.

By Michael Gwarisa

The Zimbabwe Nurses Association has of late been branded as pugnacious and its individuals linked to the regime change agenda owing to a series of industrial actions they been orchestrating over the past few years.

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Information gathered by this publication indicate that the decision to form the new Nurses Association is backed by senior officials in government and the new formation will comprise of representatives from the Zimbabwe Young Nurses Association (ZYNA), an organization that emerged at the height of the historic nurses’ strikes which lasted for at least six months back in 2019.

In an interview with HealthTimes, ZINA spokesperson, Mr Tapiwa Mutambara said a representative was deployed from Chitungwiza Central Hospital and addressed nurses and members of the nurses association at Sally Mugabe Hospital following the ZINA president Enoch Dongo’s resignation from the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) saying Dongo was no longer effective since he was no longer a practising nurse and there was need to form a new association.

They came and listed salaries, loans and good working conditions and schemes including a whole lot of promises that the new Union was going to bring in. They said the Union was going to be launched in May and will be led by someone who is going to be appointed. There are not going to be any elections and at the moment they do not have a constitution,” said Mutambara.

He added the splinter ZYNA organization had fizzled out of existence but was now bouncing back through this union. He also said the new union had even received blessings from the new Sally Mugabe administration which actually gave them special treatment when they held their inaugural meeting.

“We are not saying it is bad for people to fork an organization. Even the laws of our land permit such. What we just need is fair representation and fair dealing with issues that affect nurses. When we were ZINA some time back at Sally Mugabe, the administration then was very professional and allowed us as a union even to conduct our meetings at the institution under a good venue.

“But of recent, we had problems with this new administration that had taken over, it was not entertaining any requests for venues, we were turned down on several occasion. Our last meeting where we discussing about Flexible duties, it was done under a tree. But on a different note, this new Union was given a red-carpet reception, the meetings were held at the Pediatric Boardroom.”

However, the new Association is yet to be launched following a botched recruitment drive at Sally Mugabe Hospital where nurses are reported to have snubbed the whole process.

A letter in our possession also shows that the HSB transferred the ZINA president, Mr Dongo to the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) Head Quarters in Harare, a move the association feels was meant to silence him and ensure he does not lead nurses’ protests. However, Mr Dongo later resigned from his position at the MoHCC, prompting the HSB to remove him from the Bipartite negotiating panel or health Apex council in a bid to silence him. Mr Dongo was however reinstated to his position as president for the association following an urgent application to challenge his unlawful removal.

Speaking on the formation of the new nurses association, Mr Dongo said Zimbabwe does not need a new nurses as it serves no purpose besides seeding confusion in the sector.

“It is unfortunate at this point in time that government tries to form another nurses’ union but it is really very unfortunate because there is no need. What is there is ZINA is a vibrant association that represents all nurses’ interest and for government to try and from another union in the name of nurses in government union which is said to be sponsored.

“There is nothing that they are going top offer to the nurses. What nurses what at this juncture is motivation, a living salary that will take them through out the month, they want an improved service which includes the areas they are working on, descent accommodation not these new unions that are being talked about. It’s a waste of time to start creating new unions its going to suffer a still birth because one is going to join. They say this union is going to be led by senior people and senior nurses. Those senior nurses had the opportunity to discuss to authorities for better opportunities and they failed so what is going to change if they are in position because what they are failing to do it today,” said Mr Dongo.

He added that nurses were not dull  and they were aware of a plan  to destroy ZINA.

“What government needs to concentrate on right now is to improve the working conditions, the environment has to be improved. There is need to improve the infrastructure in the hospitals. Hospitals should have proper equipment and drugs have to be made available. The people they want to put in leadership positions are known that they are failures.”

Efforts to a comment from the Health Services Board Chairperson, Dr Paulinos Sikhosana were fruitless as he could not respond to our inquest by the time of publishing.

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