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Kenya

Police disperse vigil by striking doctors

The group of about 200 doctors was joined by other members of the public who chanted slogans, vowing to continue demanding for their rights/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – A group of doctors who converged at the Railways Club for a night vigil in solidarity with their union officials were Monday night dispersed by police who termed the meeting illegal.

The group of about 200 doctors was joined by other members of the public who chanted slogans, vowing to continue demanding for their rights.

The move follows the jailing of seven doctors’ union officials who began serving their one-month sentence for contempt of court after failing to call off the strike as directed.

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu is Tuesday morning scheduled to appear before the Health Senate Committee to shed light on the progress made so far in getting the doctors back to hospitals.

The doctors, who were joined by other human rights activists among other professionals, agreed to disperse but vowed to press on with their demonstrations.

The government has maintained that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the medics are basing their strike on is illegal, citing grounds that the same was not registered in court.

The strike entered its 71st day on Monday with legal experts connoting that the same may last longer since there can be no negotiations without the doctor’s union officials.

Those jailed include Samuel Oroko (Chairman), Ouma Oluga (Secretary General) among other officials Daisy Korir (Treasurer), Titus Ondoro (1st Vice Chairman), Allan Ochanji (2nd Vice chairman), Mwachonda Chibandzi (Deputy Secretary General) and Evelyne Chege.

Judge Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Monday ruled that the group was guilty of contempt of court for failing to end the strike.

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The male officials will serve their 30-day sentence at the Industrial Area Prison while their female counterparts will do their time at the Lang’ata Women’s Prison.

The government has offered a 40 percent pay rise to the medics who have maintained that they want a 300 percent raise.

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