, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – An appeal lodged by jailed doctors’ union officials is due before court Wednesday morning, even as medics in private hospitals were urged to boycott work in solidarity with their colleagues in public hospitals.
The appeal comes as pressure mounted on Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to ensure the doctors’ union officials are out of jail to continue with pay negotiations.
Mailu was given until end of Tuesday by the Senate Health Committee to work on the officials’ release and is expected back before the Committee Wednesday morning with Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri.
The seven were jailed on Monday for contempt of court after persistently defying an order which required them to end the strike, which had been declared illegal.
On Tuesday, Mailu indicated his office had liaised with the Attorney General and would plead with the Court of Appeal to release the officials.
The Health CS said the government will “do all within its powers to get the seven freed” after the Employment and Labour Relations Court sent them to jail.
He further insisted that the Ministry of Health has been cooperating fully in the negotiations over a contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement.
In the meantime, the CS admitted that Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri was disobedient to him during the talks seeking to end the countrywide doctors’ strike.
Mailu told the committee that he had sent Muraguri with a team from the ministry to be part of the negotiating team but the PS skipped the talks and in addition presented a separate list of members.