16 June 2017

Kenya: Nurses' Union Officials Clash on Live TV

Photo: Benson Momanyi/Daily Nation
Striking nurses in Kisii.

Kenyans will have to wait longer for the nurses to resume work as divisions in Kenya National Union of Nurses are complicating negotiations with the national and county governments.

On Friday, a press conference by faction of the union led by the embattled chair John Bii was violently disrupted by that of the team led by the Knun Secretary-General Seth Panyako on Friday.

26,000 NURSES

Mr Bii had called for a press conference at 10.30am at the Railway Club in Nairobi, ostensibly to end the strike, on day 12 today, and to update the 26,000 striking nurses that the government was willing to negotiate to end the impasse.

Mr Panyako on the other hand had called for a press conference at Uchumi House but quickly left the CBD alongside other officials of Knun to Railway Club where Mr Bii was addressing the press.

In the glare of the camera and journalists, the Panyako-led team kicked out Mr Bii and the handful of people from his faction who were attending the media briefing.

Short of punches and kicks, the nurses argued over who had the legitimacy to speak on behalf of the nurses and the presence of an armed police officer did not deter the two warring sides from abusing each other and pushing out Mr Bii from the venue that he had booked.

STRIKE ON

Acting chair Joseph Ngwasi, who is in Panyako's camp, in a competing match of shouting said: The strike is still on and Mr Bii does not represent the interests of nurses."

The Council of Governors said it would take legal action against Mr Panyako for what it terms as "defamatory and scandalous statements".

Mr Panyako in a press conference on Friday fingered five people as responsible for the nurses' strike and the current impasse to end it.

COG said it would sue him "On the allegations levelled out against, H.E. Josphat Nanok, Chairman Council of Governors, H.E. James Ongwae Governor Kisii County, H.E. Jack Ranguma Mrs. Jacqueline Mogeni, CEO Council of Governors and family members and Mr Hosea Kiili CEO County Provident Fund (CPF)."

Governors have reiterated that the strike is illegal and nurses must return back to work and the union should resume the negotiations.

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