Appeal court gives doctors seven more days to end strike

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Mediation talks aimed at resolving doctors’ strike stalemate will continue for the next seven days, the Court of Appeal in Nairobi has ruled.

Appeal Court judges Fatuma Sichale, Hannah Okwengu and Kantai Ole Sankale have allowed a request by the mediation team to finalise on the negotiations.

The team through the doctors’ union lawyer George Abura, had requested for seven more days but the Council of governors opposed saying the matter has already taken too long and that if need be, only two days would be suitable.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) who are a friend of the court in the matter asked the court to consider the mediation team’s position since the talks are before them.

KEEP CONFIDENTIAL

The mediation team also requested to have the document already filed in court that indicates progress made so far to be kept confidential.

On February 15, judges Okwengu, Wanjiru Karanja and Jamila Mohammed, allowed a consent that saw seven jailed Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials released from jail pending the hearing and determination of the appeal against their jail sentence.

It was also agreed that that the said union officials, the Council of Governors, the Law Society of Kenya and KNCHR to have talks aimed at restoring normalcy in the public health sector.

The named parties also tasked the lawyers’ body and the human rights commission to spearhead the negotiation process and present a report in court after exactly seven days on the outcome which should comprise a return to work formula.

CONTEMPT OF COURT

KMPDU officials Samuel Oroko, Ouma Oluga, Daisy Korir, Evelyne Chege, Allan Ochanji, Mwachonda Chibandzi and Titus Ondoro attended today’s court proceedings.

They were sent to jail by the Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Hellen Wasilwa for disobeying a court order issued last year stopping doctors from proceeding with the strike.

Senior lawyers Phillip Murgor, James Orengo and Mutua Kilonzo are leading the new team of lawyers representing KMPDU in the appeal case as well as Mr Suyianka Lempaa for KNCHR.

The law society nominated seasoned mediators John Morris Ohaga and Njeri Kariuki to the panel which also has human rights chair Kagwiria Mbogori and Mr James Mang’erere to lead the mediation talks.

Several attempts aimed at ending the strike through dialogue have failed to bear fruit.

  ©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation

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