Talks on doctors’ strike talks fail to reach agreement

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Doctors demonstrate in Kisumu County on February 14, 2017. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Meditators in the ongoing doctor strike told the court on Thursday that parties conducting the negotiations failed to reach an agreement.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had prepared a final report but asked that it be considered an interim one after the clergy sought for a chance to lead the talks.

Inter-religious Council of Kenya which includes Catholics, Muslims and Hindu asked the court for two days for to attempt to end the strike.

Court of Appeal judges, GBM Kariuki, Martha Koome and Fatuma Sichale granted them the request.

FAILED TALKS

The Council of Governors said they are not opposed to clergy’s input however they want it acknowledged that talks have failed.

Last week, the Court of Appeal judges Fatuma Sichale, Hannah Okwengu and Kantai Ole Sankale the mediators more time to finalise negotiations before filing and presenting a report.

However, by last Friday, the mediation panel hinted that talks with the government over the matter were at the verge of collapsing owing to firm stands by both sides.

Consequently, the mediation panel’s leaders Kagwiria Mbogori and John Ohaga threatened to file its report to the Court of Appeal by Tuesday if parties involved refuse to change the adamant positions taken which had hindered them from reaching any agreement.

They said the talks hit a deadlock and had the negotiations suspended forcing the sittings to be postponed to Monday.

CLERICS STEP IN

The talks did not resume until yesterday when heads of Catholic and Anglican Church leaders stepped in to end the doctors’ strike that enters its 88th day.

Cardinal John Njue, his counterpart Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists & Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials are expected to meet with President Uhuru Kenyatta at an disclosed location to discuss the matter.

On February 15, judges Okwengu, Wanjiru Karanja and Jamila Mohammed, allowed a consent that saw seven jailed KMPDU officials released from jail pending the hearing and determination of the appeal against their jail sentence.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Hellen Wasilwa had sent them to a month’s jail term for disobeying a court order issued last year which stopped doctors from boycotting work.

KMPDU officials Samuel Oroko, Ouma Oluga, Daisy Korir, Evelyne Chege, Allan Ochanji, Mwachonda Chibandzi and Titus Ondoro, were freed after spending two nights in jail.

RESTORE NOMALCY

The Court of Appeal had earlier directed the said officials, the Council of Governors, LSK and KNHCR to have talks to restore normalcy in the public health sector.

Mr John Morris Ohaga, Ms Njeri Kariuki, Ms Kagwiria Mbogori and Mr James Mang’erere have been leading the mediation process.

The four mediators last week requested that the document with details on the progress of the negotiations remains confidential.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation

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