, MACHAKOS, Kenya, Aug 13 – The Machakos County Government has obtained a court order suspending the strike by doctors at its hospitals and health centres.
The strike that has gone on for nearly two weeks was suspended following orders obtained by the County Government from the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
The orders issued by Justice Abuodha Nelson will stay in force pending the hearing and determination of the claim by the County Government.
The judge certified the matter as urgent and set an inter-partes hearing for August 30.
Efforts by Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua to end the stalemate stalled after officials of the doctors union failed to turn up at the venue of the final talks at his office.
Mutua had to wait for the officials to seal a deal from 8am to 5pm but the officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) failed to turn up as agreed.
A Cabinet sub-committee set up to handle the strike was also at hand to meet the union officials.
Later at the Machakos Level Five Hospital, the sub-committee led by its chairman Eng Francs Maliti addressed a news conference where he revealed that for the last one week the Machakos County Government has been open to dialogue and has, with an open heart, met and negotiated with the doctors participating in an illegal strike.
“The doctors’ union presented to us over 25 concerns and we have been able to agree on all of them. We have attached the most current agreement that they have now shifted from again.”
“Every time we agree and finalise, the union said they will be back to us and when they do, they add new items, some not even contentious. They are using the excuse of consulting their members not to reach an agreement,” said Maliti.
Ministers Kioko Wa Luka, Larry Wambua, Naomi Mutie and County Assembly Majority and Minority Leaders Joshua Mwonga and Thomas Kasoa were also present.
Mwonga and Kasoa said the County Assembly was firmly behind Governor Mutua and urged doctors to obey the court orders and resume duty.
Mwonga said the doctors strike was political adding it was a plot to destabilise the government.
“We will not allow individuals to roll back the gains that are being enjoyed under the leadership of Mutua. We support him fully in his efforts to streamline health care systems,” said Mwonga.
Kasoa commended nurses and clinical officers who have remained on duty saying they are doing a noble job.
“We wish to reassure the people of Machakos that as a Government we have been committed to improved health care,” said Maliti.