Kenyans seeking medical services from public hospitals will continue to face tough times as nurses vow to defy President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to resume duty.
According to Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) Secretary General Seth Panyako, the strike is on and nothing has changed.
Addressing the media immediately after President Kenyatta’s address on Wednesday, Panyako revealed that he was not in a position to call off the strike announced by KNUN branch officials.
Panyako reiterated that if the officials in the respective counties advised him to call off the strike he will heed to their call immediately.
“If today they advise me to call of the strike following the directive from our president, I will do that very diligently. This is not a national strike, but we are dealing with individual counties,” said Panyako.
“I’m still waiting for direction from branch officials, but as it stands, the strike is on until we are paid what is rightfully ours.”
President Kenyatta had ordered the nurses to resume duty by Friday or risk losing their jobs.
The head of state demanded that those who do not show up to work on the said date should be axed; both by the County Government and the Ministry of Health.
He also ordered the police to take action against those who might try and block others from reporting to their work stations.
“As the Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, I have instructed the National Police Service to take stern action against those picketers who may intimidate or harass the public servants who intend to go to work,” he said.
Responding to the hard stance by the president, Panyako urged the institutions involved to consider the welfare of the nurses.
“We respect the President of this nation and the government. We respect the law but the law must be applied rationally and equitably,” he said.
Last week, nurses from 11 counties downed their tools. They accused the Labour ministry of frustrating the agreement reached by nurses and respective county governments.
However, the Council of Governors distanced itself from the strike urging the nurses to negotiate with their respective counties.
The nurses are demanding uniform and nursing service allowance.
Nurses in other 10 counties are set to begin their strike on Monday.