The Employment and Labour Relations Court has sentenced six officials of the doctors’ union to a one-month suspended sentence. Justice Hellen Wasilwa ordered Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials to call off the strike

and finalise negotiations in the next two weeks. Handing out the judgement on Thursday morning, Justice Wasilwa said if the strike is not ended in two weeks the officials will serve a two-week jail time. In her ruling, Judge Wasilwa condemned the officials, saying they are weak leaders unable to make decisions on behalf of union members. The officials had pleaded with her for a lenient sentence, saying the decision to call off the strike lies with union members and not leaders in their own individual capacity. The judge sternly said there is no existing collective bargaining agreement registered and hence the strike must be called off. Shortly after the verdict was issued, doctors in their numbers held a meeting at the Railways Members Club where they said, “Jailing our union leaders will not get us back to work”. The doctors accused the government of engaging in rhetoric instead of handling their issues. “We are even ready to go back to work but what equipment or gloves are there in the hospitals for our work?” Dr Kabaa Kimani a Consultant Surgeon at the Kenyatta National Hospital said in an address to the doctors. Dr Kimani added, “You cannot retain doctors in public sector if you are paying MCAs more than these health workers. Ask Matiangi to speak to his colleagues in Health ministry.”

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