Uhuru rules out talks with doctors, warns they face the sack

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State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu while addressing journalists at Mombasa State House on March 12, 2017. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

There will be no further talks with striking doctors, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Doctors who fail to report to work will be fired, President Kenyatta warned on Sunday.

In statement by State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu on Sunday morning at State House, Mombasa, the president said the government will only engage the doctors after they return to work first.

Mr Esipisu said that the President stands by his earlier directive that doctors should get back to work immediately and stop the suffering Kenyans have been plunged into for months.

“The President’s stand remains the same that striking doctors must resume duty immediately. If they don’t, there will be no more discussions on the subject. We praise those who have returned to work and urge the rest to do the same,” said President Kenyatta’s statement read by Mr Esipisu.

Last Wednesday, President Kenyatta said the government was ready to sack doctors who refuse to go back to work and that he was not going to sit and watch Kenyans suffer due to lack of provision of health services.

Speaking in Lodwar, the President said doctors should not continue with their strike, now in its fourth month, and that they should avoid being in conflict with the government.

He said he would only reopen negotiations once the doctors are back at work.

On Tuesday, the President, while attending the fourth Annual Devolution Conference in Naivasha, had accused the doctors of blackmail in seeking for better terms.

“President Kenyatta has directed that all doctors resume duty before any further negotiations can be convened,” said Mr Esipisu when he addressed the press at State House, Mombasa on Sunday.

JUBILEE PROJECTS

Mr Esipisu defended the projects being undertaken by the government at the Coast following claims by Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Amason Kingi (Kilifi) that they were initiated by previous regimes and funded by donors.

Mr Esipisu said the national government owned the projects.

“I have heard local leaders claiming that the projects are not the national government initiatives. I tell them that there is no chance of lying to the people that the mega projects done in the coast do not belong to the national government,” he said.

He said that whether they are from the World Bank, loans from the African Development Bank or any other source, the national government is totally in charge and acquires the funds directly. It makes the projects, proposals and undertakes them including repaying the loans.

Highlighting the projects so far undertaken in the coast, Mr Esipisu said Sh25.7 billion had been spent on roads alone by the Jubilee administration.

He gave the example of the Sh374 billion Standard Gauge Railway, the Sh2.1 trillion Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project (LAPSET), the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) venture on the pipeline that will create 6000 jobs in five years and expansion of the Kilindini port, Malindi airport and Ukunda airstrip as some of Jubilee initiatives.

He announced that 35 Kenyan students left last week to study four-year railway related degree courses in Beijing, China to enable them mange the project once back.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation

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