Ruto expresses shock over Governors endorsing medics’ strike » Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 — President William Ruto has expressed his dismay over county chiefs supporting a nationwide strike by medical professionals despite a majority of whom fall under devolved units.

Ruto, speaking at the Third National Wage Bill Conference at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, challenged devolved units in support of the strike to pay the doctors, clinicians, and nurses.

“You have leaders who are in their place including governors saying we support the doctor strike. Really!” the Head of State exclaimed.

“If you support the doctor strike, pay the money they ask for,  we must stop chasing what is popular, we must go after what is right,” President Ruto stated.

Ruto who closed the wage bill forum on Thursday said the government was grappling with multiple pressing issues resulting in budgetary limitations.

The Head of State termed pronouncements endorsing the strike led by the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) as populist and insincere.

Populist move

He criticized the leaders for their support of the strike as a means of gaining popularity, rather than addressing the real challenges facing the nation.

Siaya Governor James Orengo has been on record supporting the strike taking a contrary position to the Council of Governors (CoG).

CoG, like the national government, has termed demands by medical professionals unreasonable with Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura saying the Ministry of Health signed the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement with doctors under duress.

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The Governors’ Council on Tuesday dismissed KMPDU’s assistance on national-level talks urging medical professionals to negotiate with their respective county employers.

The Council emphasized the autonomy of both national and county governments as separate entities saying counties would not honour any commitments made by the national government.

Medical professionals downed their tools on March 13 after KMPDU demanded the Ministry of Health (MoH) retain intern doctors on a Sh206,000 salary.

The Ministry of Health offered Sh70,000 based on an allocation of Sh2.4 billion but KMPDU rejected it insisting on Sh206,000 for intern doctors.

The ministry contended that fulfilling the union’s demands would require a budget of Sh4.9 billion.

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