, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – The Council of Governors says doctors’ officials who are currently serving a one-month jail term are to blame for their dilemma, saying they should have respected the courts.
CoG Chairperson Peter Munya says they were saddened by what he termed as a blatant disregard of the law by the officials, saying that serves as a recipe for chaos.
“They went to see the Senate Committee, why didn’t it mediate this crisis?” he asked.
“What is their input other than appearing on talk shows and trying to pass the buck… they are a part of this society but where are they other than the game of holier than thou attitude that I’m seeing them trying to adopt everywhere?”
Munya said the strike was pronounced illegal, “and the doctors’ union officials were expected to call off the strike within the given period to avoid jail terms.”
He however made it clear that they were ready to continue the negotiations until all the outstanding issues are addressed.
Munya says the doctors should consider the plight of thousands of Kenyans being denied their right to health services, by ceding some ground in the disputed 300 percent pay increment demand.
“The Council of Governors was saddened by the doctors’ officials contemptuous disregard for the Employment and Labour Relations Court orders. The matter that was in court was purely in relation to the illegality of the doctor’s strike and not the issues they wish addressed through a CBA arrangement,” he said.
He was categorical that the disputed CBA cannot be implemented.
“They only insist on a CBA that has not been even registered in court,” he said.
“County Governments remain committed to a negotiated settlement in good faith of all parties in dispute. The council of Governors participated in the mediation process and is committed to the resolution of the issues in dispute.”
The Council of Governors continues to urge the striking doctors to end the ongoing strike and bring to an end the suffering of ordinary Kenyans who cannot access medical services in private facilities.”
On Monday, the Senate Health Committee ordered Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to work towards ensuring the seven jailed officials of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) are released so that negotiations to end the strike can resume.
This is after Mailu who was appearing before the committee Tuesday stated that he had met with the Attorney General and that the ministry was set to petition the Court of Appeal Wednesday to free the officials.
Mailu 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 for contempt.
“My prayer is that these young men are released from prison and within two or so days we can strike a deal. As a County Government, we believe we’ve made several steps to ensure this is resolved. But things have to be done according to law,” he stated.
The Health CS further insisted that the Ministry of Health has been cooperating fully in the negotiations over a contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We need to resolve this issue for doctors to go back to work. By Sunday night, the mediation committee had agreed on issues standing in the way of the CBA and signed a document,” he revealed.
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.