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Court extends order barring hiring of foreign doctors

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has extended orders barring the government from hiring foreign doctors.

Justice Nelson Abuodha issued the directives on Wednesday even as the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) want the case filed against them by five unemployed but qualified medical practitioners last month, be dismissed.

According to county bosses, employment is at the discretion of an employer and that there is no requirement in law for governors to invite the five through their association or union to apply for jobs within county governments.

“A decision to hire any personnel whether Kenyan or foreign falls within the discretion of county public service boards in each county government, as it stands no board has made any decision to hire any foreign medical and dental personnel,” said the Council Chief executive Jacqueline Mugo.

The Council also argued that the five only tabled a list of 125 unemployed doctors yet they had alleged that there are 1,400 jobless medical practitioners without proof that they are actually Kenyan citizens.

They also said in their case documents that the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community establishes a common market and free movement of labour within the region.

Whilst the five who moved to court claimed that they are qualified health professionals, the Council of governors argued that they are not medical officers or dentists and that whether the intended government plan of hiring 5,000 doctors from Tanzania goes on or not, they will not be affected.

“An order stopping the hiring of foreign doctors cannot be issued as it will be in violation of Kenya’s international and regional obligations within East Africa, it will be discriminatory,” Ms Mogeni added.

According to PSC, if the order suspending hiring of foreign doctors remains in place, the government will be permanently barred from hiring noncitizen medical practitioners and dentists even where need arises.

Through its Chief executive Alice Otwala, PSC said that the law on hiring of foreigners is clear and has not been breached.

Doctors Kahindi Teddy Menza, Yunas Mohammed Shee, Lilian Nyambeki Magara, Victor Muia Mutisya and Aldran Flavian Liguyani had sued the Ministry of Health, the Council of Governors, PSC and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board.

They had faulted the fact that the government has embarked on recruiting non- Kenyan medical practitioners’ to be deployed throughout the country to work in public medical facilities.

They had claimed that the Kenyan citizens ought to have been given first priority of employment and deployment by their government as per the Constitution as well as Public Service laws.

They had termed the move by both the national and county governments for considering to outsource from a foreign labour market as illegal.
The case will be mentioned on June 5 for further directions.

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