Frontliners are outraged at the ongoing campaign aimed at appreciating and honouring a select six frontline workers that will leave others slighted in the wake of a raging pandemic, The Monitor has learnt.
Government recently ran an advert in which the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force in collaboration with De Beers Group will be awarding six frontline workers with the Forevermark branded jewellery of a total value of one carat. Mascom has also vowed to award 100 frontline workers with P100,000 worth of devices and data.
However, these inadvertent incentives did not sit well with other frontliners who felt upset the competition would not be fair on all frontline workers that perform their roles in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, having to go without recognition. Shingirai Muzondiwa, president of the Botswana Doctors Union (BDU), expressed his disappointment over the campaign noting that all frontliners, including doctors, have gone to extremes in the fight against the pandemic with some even losing their lives. “Honestly, this is an insult to doctors, nurses, cleaners, gardeners amongst all who work in hospitals. Whoever doesn’t get chosen will feel unappreciated despite all the sacrifice we make daily putting our lives in danger. Unfortunately, we have also lost some frontliners who got in contact with patients who were infected,” he said. “Why do you want to divide frontline workers to start with? We are gambling with ourselves and all of a sudden someone says they are going to choose to whom they
There is no need for the division while we are at war with the very risky disease,” said Muzondiwa. The BDU president said to start with, doctors have been underpaid and they have engaged the government on the matter saying the ministry rather comes up with a strategy to divide them. In their press release dated January 21, 2021, that DR Charles Muleya signed, stated: “The competition will instil feelings of jealousy and competition at a critical time when working together and unity are of the utmost importance amongst all frontliners for the sake of the country throughout this pandemic, the competition structure is unfair as the judges, who are public voters, do not necessarily have much knowledge of who does what, when and how and therefore it is an unnecessary popularity contest.
Every frontline worker on a daily is risking their own life and the lives of their families and this competition will instigate that some frontline workers are more important than others who are not voted for and hence it is ultimately divisive.
The frontline work done during this COVID-19 pandemic is a teamwork effort from all frontline workers to save as many lives as possible and we find this competition as an insensitive distraction for frontline workers.”