Council of Governors Chair Peter Munya has announced that the government will hire doctors from Tanzania, Ethiopia and Cuba in the next three weeks to replace striking doctors.
Speaking during the ongoing devolution conference in Naivasha, Munya directed doctors who are yet to resume duty to go and sign Recognition Agreements with their individual county governments.
The striking doctors are, however, insisting that the recognition agreement and the CBA as amended and revised should be signed first before they can return to work
In a statement to newsrooms, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Dr Ouma Oluga and other union officials have urged the doctors to maintain their resolve insisting that the recognition agreement and CBA must be signed to end the 94-day strike.
“We await to conclude the signing of Recognition Agreements, CBA and then after RTWF as was guided by the Court of Appeal under the Mediation of Religious Leaders. We hope this shall be done soon,” read the statement.
Despite government withdrawing a deal negotiated during the meditation process, the doctors now say that they cannot be coerced and bulldozed into returning to work without inking the negotiated deal.
“While the payroll and the hospital belongs to the government, your skill is selfishly yours. But let nobody make you think that it must be forced on you to use it,” said Oluga.
But the council of governors remains adamant that the deal is no longer on the table, accusing the union of sabotaging the health sector
This comes just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, March 7 termed demands by doctors as blackmail, saying that what the medics are demanding in their 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement is too high and cannot be achieved overnight.
The Head of State further warned the striking medics of consequences should the ongoing mediation process fail.
“If this round they are engaged with religious leaders fail, we will be in a bit of a problem with them,” warned Kenyatta. “This is blackmail and we are not going to entertain it.”
While terming the doctors as dealing an unfair hand, Kenyatta reiterated the government’s commitment to a fair resolution to the doctors and also to the Kenyans who pay.
“It is clear to me that the doctors’ grievances will never be resolved by creating new grievances of their own. Two wrongs have never made a right,” lamented the President. “There is no fairness in that.”
In January, the government had intimated that it was exploring possibilities of recruiting foreign doctors in a bid to restore health services in public hospitals.
Speaking during a joint media conference then, Health Cabinet Secretary, Cleopa Mailu, who was accompanied by Treasury CS, Henry Rotich, and Public Service Commission (PSC) chair, Prof Margaret Kobia, expressed disappointment in the doctors’ union for rejecting the government’s offer.