Raila, Kalonzo offer lawyers to appeal jailing of doctors
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has condemned the government for allowing doctors’ union officials to go jail for agitating for a ‘constitutional right’ of better working conditions and remuneration.
In a statement sent to newsrooms immediately after a court ruling that effected the one-month suspended jail term, CORD leader Raila Odinga expressed shock at the decision.
His co-principal in the coalition, Kalonzo Musyoka, expressed similar sentiments adding that the Jubilee Government has made ‘martyrs’ out of the incarcerated KMPDU officials while real looters in the Ministry of Health Scam are still free in the streets.
The opposition leaders promised to constitute a team of lawyers to take up the jailed Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials’ case against the government.
“We have instructed our lawyers to immediately convene and take up the doctor’s case against the government,” Raila said in a statement.
The former premier slammed the government for reneging on the doctors’ 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and instead using courts to cover up for its ineptitude to resolve labour disputes.
Mr Odinga cast doubt on the Jubilee government’s ability to handle industrial relations disputes in the country including the ongoing lecturers’ strike.
“That has grim implications for resolving future conflicts between the government, employees, and other entities, including the strike by university lecturers which is equally taking a bad turn as the government fumbles,” said Raila.
The CORD leader said that the government has resorted to coercion to force the medics to accept an alternative deal, which they (doctors) do not agree, after squandering a perfect opportunity provided by the court through the suspended jail term to resolve the impasse.
He further laid the blame for the prolonged doctors’ strike on President Uhuru Kenyatta, accusing him of failure to provide direction to his ministers and government agencies involved in the collapsed talks.
He also cited infighting in the Ministry of Health between Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and Principal Secretary Dr Nicholas Muraguri, which he said was the reason COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli abandoned his mediation role, as a contributing factor in the stalemate.
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