Operations at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) were paralyzed on Wednesday, August 25, after doctors at the facility downed their tools to protest contract termination of 40 of their colleagues.
The demonstrations, which started at 9 a.m were led by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union Secretary-General, Dr. Davji Bhimji.
The union CEO and KNH doctors decried the orders by KNH CEO Dr. Evanson Kamuri who refused to reinstate 8 doctors who had been dismissed from work.Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union secretary-general, Dr. Davji Bhimji, (extreme left) getting ready to address the media on August 25, 2021.
Union officials claimed that besides the 8 doctors who had been given immediate termination, the rest had received three months' notices to terminate their contracts, with the Union Secretary-General earlier on questioning the decision to sack them, especially given the harsh economic times brought about by the pandemic.
“It is alarming that KNH decided to sack doctors during the Covid-19 pandemic period without following the requisite procedure,” stated Dr. Davji.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday morning as protests were underway, the union CEO decried the decision to employ doctors on contract and eventually terminating them at will. He also accused the KNH CEO of failing to heed court orders to reinstate them.
"We went to court and got orders, reinstating all doctors that were dismissed," stated the KMPDU Secretary-General, in a statement to the media.
The Union CEO revealed that negotiations with the KNH CEO to re-evaluate the decision had not been fruitful.
"Attempts of dialogue with KNH CEO have failed, pushing us here. The doctors must be reinstated as per court orders!" stated Bhimji, in a message conveyed on his social media page.
The Wednesday protests led to the arrest of the KMPDU Secretary-General, union members, and other top officials who were bundled into a police vehicle and taken away.
KMPDU officials called on the release of all the arrested colleagues, terming the arrests as an attempt to curtail their freedom of expression and right to demonstrate.
"The arrest of our top officials and other union members for agitating for better working terms KNH is uncalled for, and the most barbaric way to intimidate workers. We demand the immediate release of our members,"
Davji had initially revealed that doctors would disrupt services at the KNH every Wednesday of the week and would continue to do so until the KHN CEO and other management officials at the hospital agree to negotiate over the sackings.Journalists and police officers pictured at the entrance of the Kenyatta National Hospital on August 25, 2021.arrest
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