, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – In a follow through to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration that the nation would no longer be blackmailed by striking doctors, the national and county governments have ordered them to either immediately return to work or stay home and be replaced.
With President Uhuru Kenyatta by his side and with the county chiefs behind him, Council of Governors Chairman Peter Munya drew the line in the sand on Tuesday evening at the 4th Annual Devolution Conference being held in Naivasha.
In a statement that shouted ‘we shall no longer be pushed around’, the national and county governments were in agreement on this one thing: the time for cajoling was over.
“The national and county governments and all other employers in the public health sector to continue and conclude disciplinary processes being undertaken as against absconding staff in order to facilitate filling of vacancies that may be left out as a result of the disciplinary action.”
In the same hardline spirit, they withdrew their offer to backdate Sh10,000 in a proffered risk allowance from July 2016 and which would add Sh600mn to the government budget.
“Every doctor swears a solemn oath that they shall do no harm. Continuing with this illegal strike in the face of enhanced government offer which is at the very edge of affordability and sustainability, is to betray that solemn oath.”
The improved allowances, Munya said in a hardball play, would now take effect in January.
They would also be taking steps, Munya said, to cut the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union to size.
“Subject to the existing law, the government shall immediately review the registration and certification procedures for medical practitioners and the role of KMPDU in that process with the view of reverting that function back to the Ministry of Health.”
The doctors’ strike – Munya said on behalf of the national and county governments – at 93 days, had dragged on long enough despite interventions made by various stakeholders and it was time for those who took an oath to do no harm, to cease holding the country hostage.
“Various players have been involved in the mediation process, including the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, COTU (Central Organisation of Trade Unions), the Law Society of Kenya and religious leaders.
“However, due to the hardline position of the union, which position has not moved an iota since last year, all these efforts have failed.”
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