Police disrupt doctors night vigil, declares meeting illegal

The officers drawn from the General Service Unit, Administration and Regular Police units declared the meeting illegal and dispersed the over 200 doctors who had assembled at the Railways Club, Nairobi.

A night vigil organised by doctors in solidarity with their union officials who are serving a one month jail term for contempt of court.

The doctors had been joined by other human rights activists among other professionals.

"This is a private business premise. Kindly move out peacefully," a senior police officer who led the unit.

The doctors heeded to the calls but vowed to press on with their demonstrations until their colleagues were released from jail and the government listened to their grievances.

The doctors dispersed in a frenzy of blaring horns, whistles as they chanted anti-government slogans.

Contempt of court

The seven union officials jailed include Samuel Oroko (chairman), Ouma Oluga (secretary general), Daisy Korir (Treasurer), Titus Ondoro (1st Vice Chariman), Allan Ochanji (2nd Vice chairman), Mwachonda Chibandzi (Deputy Secretary General) and Evelyne Chege.

The male officials will serve their 30-day sentence at the Industrial Area prison while their female counterparts will do their time at the Langata female prison.

Failed talks

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli who led the mediation talks between the government and the doctors revealed that Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu and Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri were the main impediments to end the doctors’ strike.

Atwoli said that the infighting between Mailu and Muraguri affected the negotiations with the doctors' union.

He appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to separate the cabinet secretary and the principal secretary to have any hope of salvaging the health crisis facing the country that has entered its tenth week.

Health CS Cleopa Mailu has since said the ministry regretted the decision of the court to jail doctors adding that there was still room for talks.

"Let me make it clear that doctors were not jailed for fighting for their rights, CBA. This is about their contempt of court case," Mailu said.

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