Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: I Wasn't Compromised to Call Off Medics Strike - Official

Nairobi — The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Sultani Matendechero says he never betrayed doctors' trust by calling off the strike by health workers.

Speaking to Capital FM News on Thursday, Matendechero explained that he called off the strike because in the first instance, it had been declared illegal by the Industrial Court and that the boycott was being politicised.

He further indicated that patients were dying in hospitals and this was not acceptable since no one had the right to deprive patients the right to life.

"The circumstances which made me call off the strike by health workers were a bit complicated. So many factors were involved and it was the best decision I could make at that time. The strike had been declared illegal and even then there were so many deaths occurring," he stated.

He pointed out that he will not resist calls for him to step aside following betrayal allegations, and pointed out that the views of the majority need to be respected.

"We do not want it to seem that we are clinging on to power. If the union members want me to step aside, then I will not argue with them. However, the notion that I was bribed to call off the strike is a bad one and needs to be done away with," he stated.

Doctors have convened a National Delegates Conference on January 18 and Matendechero said he will explain to all the stakeholders in detail the reasons for calling off the mass action.

"Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and sometimes you have to make very unpopular decisions. You cannot make everybody happy and that is what happened. During the NGC, I will explain to the members in great detail why I called off the strike and even present myself for re-election," he stated.

More than 100 delegates will convene in Nairobi during the meeting to consider the election of a new Secretary General.

The calls to throw out the leaders of the union was due to the dissatisfaction with the way the strike was brought to an abrupt end before even the members were briefed.

According to Matendechero, the union found itself cornered after the court declared the strike illegal, and the national and county governments remained unmoved.

He stated that the union was staring at contempt of court charges at a time it emerged that some of their demands could only be addressed through a referendum.

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