Court issues one month suspended jail term for doctors’ union officials

Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary General Dr. Ouma Oluga (center) addressing journalists in Mombasa in the past FILE/PHOTO.

Nairobi, KENYA: The Kenya Employment and Labour Relations Court has sentenced six Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union officials to a one month suspended sentence.

The court further ordered the officials to conclude talks in two weeks time or  risk being arrested by police.

Justice Hellen Wasiliwa on Thursday told the court that her responsibility was protecting the law while doctors were given the mandate to protect Kenyans’ lives.

In her ruling, Judge Wasilwa condemned the officials for being weak leaders who were not able to make decisions on behalf of their members.

On Tuesday, the judge issued a warrant of arrest against five KMPDU officials after they were found guilty of contempt of court.

Lady Justice Wasilwa also directed the Kilimani OCS to assist the court in arresting Dr Samuel Obegithe, Dr Titus Ondoro, Dr Fredrick Oluga, Dr Hamisi Chibanzi and Dr Daisy Korir and present them before her today (Thursday).

The officials had pleaded with her for a lenient sentence saying that the decision to call off strike lies with their members and not them in their own individual capacity.

She further made it clear that no Collective Bargaining Agreement had been presented to court and calling off the strike was the only solutions that could be offered.

Meanwhile, Speaking to Baraka FM, County Communication Director Richard Chacha confirmed the doctors are still on strike in Mombasa.

This is despite them receiving a notice from the County wanting them to call off their strike and give room for negotiations.

‘’We served them with a notice on December 15 urging them to suspend the strike as we engage on how to address their grievances, They have however up to now declined and continued with the strike, this leaves us with no option but to take action should they continue until January 21,’’ he said.

Mr. Chacha also confirmed that the County will not pay its doctors for months they were on strike even if they report to work before that time.

The Council of Governor on Tuesday threatened to sack all striking doctors should they fail to return to work before Wednesday, which the latter declined.

Additional reporting by Wyclif Okumu