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Court of appeal orders immediate release of jailed doctors' officials, resumption of negotiations

The KNCHR and LSK to lead the mediations for the outstanding matters. CS Mailu and his PS are currently facing the Health Committee over the impasse.

 
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Judges of the Appellate Court Wanjiru Karanja, Hannah Okwengu and Jamila Mohamed consented that doctors be released immediately.

The release, however, brings a new twist on when the doctors will be resuming their work stations even as the Court ordered that the report by the mediating parties, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) be presented in court on 23rd this month (seven day from the date of the ruling).

The doctors earlier insisted that the only return to work formula was the full implementation of the CBA signed in 2013.

The seven were jailed on Monday for contempt of court after persistently defying an order which required them to end the strike, which had been declared illegal.

Mailu woes

The ruling comes as pressure mounts on the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu to ensure the medics continue with pay negotiations, the Senate Health Committee directed.

On Tuesday, Mailu indicated that his office had liaised with the Attorney General and would plead with the Court of Appeal to release the officials.

The Health CS told the press that the government would “do all within its powers to get the seven freed” shortly after the Employment and Labour Relations Court sent them to jail.

He further insisted that the Ministry of Health has been cooperating fully in the negotiations over a contentious Collective Bargaining Agreement, contrary to the allegations earlier raised by Francis Atwoli, who was the mediator for the stalemate.

In-fights

Meanwhile, the CS Mailu admitted that his Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri was disobedient to him during the talks seeking to end the countrywide doctors’ strike. After his appointment to lead a four-member team to steer the negotiations Muraguri is said to have further appointed his representative.

Mailu told the committee that he had sent Muraguri with a team from the ministry to be part of the negotiating team but the PS skipped the talks and in addition presented a separate list of members who did not iron out the issue.

In the meantime, the accused Permanent Secretary Nicholas Muraguri has apologised to the Health CS Cleopa Mailu. Earlier, CS Mailu blamed Muraguri on the ongoing strike saying that his junior had not shown interest in the negotiations despite being directed.

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