NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 7 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has censured doctors for using blackmail to get better terms of service during strike, which entered the 93rd day Tuesday.
Speaking while opening the 4th Annual Devolution Conference in Nakuru, President Kenyatta stated that the resolution of the dispute cannot come at the expense of fairness to other Kenyans.
The Head of State emphasised that the government shall not succumb to coercion.
“We will not succumb to threats and intimidation. Do these doctors think we are that stupid? You only work for two hours in government facilities and then run to your private clinics!” he stated.
“We have offered you better salaries than those in private hospitals. Medical interns in government hospitals will earn more than what doctors at Aga Khan, Nairobi and Mater Hospitals earn,” he indicated.
He stressed that should the ongoing talks being mediated by religious leaders fail, action shall be taken against the doctors.
“I can assure you, if the ongoing talks spearheaded by the religious leaders fail, we will take action. We will sort you out. This is blackmail,” he stated.
President Kenyatta on Monday held talks with three Governors and members of the Inter religious Forum until 1am to try and break the deadlock according to sources.
His sentiments came even as the Appellate Court gave the parties more time to come to a settlement and set a mention date for Monday.
Religious leaders who on March 2 were allowed to participate in the negotiations reported back to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday that while, in their view, the stumbling blocks to a resolution had been moved out of the way, it was now up to the parties involved to carry the ball the rest of the way to the finish line.
And as though to wash their hands of the whole affair were keen to make the point that, “we that religious leaders here below signed believe that we have delivered on our mandate. We therefore leave the matter to the court discretion for further directions.”
There was indeed talk of just off-white smoke from the parties on Tuesday whose main point of contention it appeared, was the order of documents to be signed.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union through lawyer Philip Murgor made it clear that they would not call off their strike until a Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed. “That is the contractual agreement.”
The Council of Governors and office of the Attorney General, representing the National Government, were however insistent that the doctors first call off their strike as a show of good faith given they have all this time, been, “negotiating under duress.”