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LNA cuts ties with Coalition

Ntsoaki Motaung

The Lesotho Nurses Association (LNA) has decided to withdraw its membership from the Coalition of Health Professionals Associations.

This was disclosed in a press statement issued by the Coalition this week indicating that, there is no explanation of the withdrawal by LNA except the reason written as unforeseen circumstances.       

The statement says the Chairperson of the Coalition of Health Professionals Associations received a letter of notice of Termination of LNA Membership in Coalition in early morning hours of Wednesday.

“During the struggle of health professionals commonly remembered as for PPE and Risk Allowance, it was highlighted by the Coalition that the next struggle will be Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital staff salaries.  This struggle was done with all HPA member associations working together harmoniously and tirelessly, utilising our various strengths to see that health professionals got what was due to them,” the statement reads. 

According to Coalition, with regard to the plan for QMMH staff salaries, earlier this year, Coalition noticed that LNA had decided to take forward the said plan on its own. Later the Coalition and Lesotho Workers Association (LeWA) realised that the events taking place at the said hospital are affecting other members of the Coalition and LeWA and therefore decided to take action on February 24, 2021 by handing a letter of petition to the Minister of Labour and Employment to act in accordance with the Labour Code Order 1992 section 232.

“The gap between this one member of the Coalition, LNA, and the main body seemed to progressively grow, as was seen with LNA turning down at last minute the invitation to the briefing on how the Press Conference went, and how Coalition and LeWA are collaborating to tackle the Tšepong struggle.  Several attempts to meet were turned down.  Even LeWA on their own tried to engage LNA for a workable solution, but LNA said this matter is for nurses only and as such LNA wanted to handle it alone. On the 16th March 2021, the Coalition in collaboration with LeWA wrote to QMMH management requesting freezing of post adverts for dismissed nurses and consider reinstatement.”

The statement goes on to say that, in a meeting of LeWA and Coalition on March 20, 2021, LNA showed a huge dissatisfaction against the actions taken by Coalition and LeWA against the QMMH dispute. LNA in the said meeting insisted that the only action they will appreciate is for the rest of the staff in QMMH to vacate their work place with immediate effect in support of nurses.  In the spirit of respecting association member views, Coalition and LEWA agreed that they would address their members in Tsepong on this issue, and take mandate from the members on the way forward.

The coalition indicated that there were associations and organizations which intended to provide solidarity to LNA but were in support of actions taken by the Coalition and LeWA, and are still supporting the process of the law to date. Those are being Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (LCN) Development for Peace Education (DPE) Lesotho Police Staff Association (LePOSA) Lesotho Taxi Association (LTA) 

The Coalition considers this decision taken by the Lesotho Nurses Association executive hasty and very unfortunate because in this fight and the coming struggles everyone needs one another and the Coalition was formed to achieve the goal of ‘Lets’oele le beta poho’. “We therefore plea with the Lesotho Nurses Association General Membership to strongly advise their executive to reverse the decision they have taken,” the Coalition says.

Meanwhile, the President of the LNA said he will not comment on the matter until what needs to be done is done.   

On the other hand the LNA Secretary Monica Mokhesi indicated that reasons for LNA’s withdrawal with the coalition will be provided after the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

“As for now we do know what they are talking about. There are no coalition donations that were collected by LNA as far as I know,” she said.

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