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Lab Board accused of irregularly withholding license of former student

After graduating from the University of Nairobi (UoN) with a Bachelors of Science degree in Medical Laboratories Science and Technologies in December 2016, Dennis Kithinji sat for the Board’s examinations in May 2017 but the results came out in August/COSMUS MWONGELA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Board (KMLTTB) has been accused of irregularly withholding the practising license of a former student who passed their examination and got a written confirmation thereby denying him gainful employment opportunities.

After graduating from the University of Nairobi (UoN) with a Bachelors of Science degree in Medical Laboratories Science and Technologies in December 2016, Dennis Kithinji sat for the Board’s examinations in May 2017 but the results came out in August.

“They communicated through a text message instructing me that I had passed and I should proceed to register to practice,” he said showing us a printed copy of the said text message.

What he thought was going to be a simple process turned into endless nights of agony, weeks of uncertainty and months of confusion as the chasing of license became a cat and mouse game.

Not one to give up, he followed up with the Board who didn’t give him any feedback finally resting to the Ombudsman to have them intervene but so far, his efforts have been fruitless.

“I have visited the Board two times but they only told me that the CEO would call me which he didn’t,” decried Kithinji adding that “even the Ombudsman has advised me to go to Court because they lack investigative powers.”

While he had hoped that the feedback from the Commission of Administrative Justice (CAJ) would be positive, he was shocked at the barrage of accusations the Board heaped on him.

In a letter dated January 29, the Board accuses Kithinji of an elaborate web of deceit including “evidence that the subject and others colluded with some staff of the Board to have them reflected as passed but he failed,” reads part of the response.

“It is worth noting that the subject is considered an unnecessary activist and alarmist by the Board as since he was in college as the course representative he agitated for a number of students including the abolition of the Board exam for degree holders,” the letter continues.

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Apart from being shocked at the personal tone of the letter, he terms the allegations as misguided, lacks basis and well-choreographed witch-hunt scheme to punish him for his advocacy works.

“I have never attended any other meeting with KMLTTB staff apart from the one we attended as student leaders with the registrar of the board. They were two meetings, and there are minutes to that effect,” he lamented.

“How could I have colluded with the staff members of the Board? If there is any evidence, why haven’t they called me in for investigations or even reported me to the Police?”

The troubled Kithinji traces the genesis of his woes with the Board in 2015 when he took the petition to amend the Act to Parliament which governs the profession he is in.

When he started the advocacy, his only motivation was to improve the profession and ensure that the process of sitting for examinations was smooth.

“We went to Parliament to request for the amendment of the Act which regulates our profession Cap 253 A so that it may be inclusive from certificate to PhD because the Act currently only mentions Certificate and Diploma holders only.”

“Can you imagine that some students took loans to sit for the examinations only for about 80 percent to fail then they would be kept waiting by the Board,” he lamented.

The Board in the same letter calls Kithiniji as a man “masquerading as the fighter of rights for the Medical Laboratory professionals and considers him as mischievous, callous, and misleading as he is driven by selfish ambition.”

Feeling like he has exhausted the formal channels of appeal, he is now caught between a rock and a hard place as he wonders what he will tell his mother who sacrificed to see him graduate from UoN.

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“When I completed University, my mother had hopes that I would help her support my brother who is in the University and my sister who is in high school, now I can’t do that,” he said his voice shaking from frustration.

As the Board insists that he needs to visit their office to book for his examinations re-sit, he wonders why this was never communicated to him, the body only churning a heap of allegations after he went to the Ombudsman office.

He vows to fight till justice is granted to him and many other students who may be suffering in silence.

“We are helpless and this form of impunity is serving injustices to people like us who have been relying on education as their only saviour from poverty,” he said vowing that “why should other people suffer when I can do something to help them?”

Capital News has reached out to the Board’s chairman Abel Onyango to answer questions raised in this report and he did not get back to us.

The reporter also visited the KMLTTB offices in an effort to meet Abdulatiff Ali, the registrar who wrote the email for clarification but his efforts did not yield anything.

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