13 March 2017

Kenya: Last Chance to End Deadlock or Doctors Dispute Goes Back to Wasilwa

Nairobi — The Court of Appeal has given mediators in the ongoing doctors strike a final chance to sign and register a return-to-work formula to end the impasse, failure to which the matter shall revert to the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

While making the ruling, the three-judge bench headed by Justice Martha Koome gave the parties until Tuesday, March 14 at 10am to come to an agreement, after which they will wash their hands off the matter.

The bench called on the parties especially the Ministry of Health to stop their grandstanding and resolve the matter since Kenyans are suffering.

"We are concerned that no agreement has been fully reached although a number of issues have been resolved; we are however concerned and disappointed at the slow pace with which the matter is proceeding," the judges ruled.

"We appeal to all parties including the Ministry of Health to be guided by the best interest of Kenyans and put aside their differences, their egos and also give religious leaders a chance to help bring a compromise and a resolution of this matter."

Council of Governors' lawyer Eunice Lumallas stated that County Governments need to scrutinise the return-to-work formula before it is signed and registered in court.

The Ministry of Health was however categorical that no more talks would be held until the striking doctors resume work.

The appeal comes even the National and County Governments last week withdrew the offer given to the doctors.

During the court proceedings, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights through lawyer Vincent Lempaa urged both doctors' union officials and the government to work together towards ending the stalemate.

The lawyer for the Inter-Religious Council which was mediating the strike, Peter Gachohi, said the emphasis should now be on ensuring doctors go back to work through the return-to-work formula.

The union's lawyer Philip Murgor echoed her sentiments stating that more time should be given so that the government may look to the return to work formula before the strike is called off.


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