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I’m ready to serve my term, says jailed doctors union official

KMPDU treasurer Daisy Korir (left)is hugged by Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire on the left is Homabay women rep gladys Wanga after visiting her at Langata women prisons where she was detained for one month for contempt of court.14/2/17-COURTESY

The irony of the moment couldn’t have been more poignant. Dr Daisy Korir woke up feeling sick after spending her first night at Langata Women’s Prison in Nairobi.

Dr Korir who was hauled in jail on Monday, alongside six other leaders of the doctors’ union after they disobeyed a court order to call off their strike was at the mercy of her colleague she had been jailed with.

A meal of githeri and sukuma served the previous night appeared to have disturbed her ulcers. By 7am, when porridge was served for breakfast, Dr Korir had stomach pains and began vomiting.

The Standard established Dr Fatuma Buyeya, the chief inspector of the prison’s hospital, was called in to treat the treasurer of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union.

“I was weak because I suffer from ulcers but I am now strong having been given some medicine. I have the resolve to finish my term. I have eaten rice for lunch and feel strong,” Dr Korir told a group of MPs who visited her in prison.

At the time, she was in high spirits despite being weak.

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The warder in charge of the prison Olivia Onyango said Korir even skipped a Valentine’s Day event at the prison as she had been taken ill yesterday morning.

“She was to join other inmates for a special Valentine’s event here in prison but she couldn’t because she has ulcers and started vomiting. She has been treated and she is resting,” Ms Onyango said.

Trouble for Dr Korir and her colleague Dr Evelyne Chege started around 6pm on Monday, when they were ushered into prison.

She had earlier bade farewell, at Milimani Law Courts, to other KMPDU officials, secretary general Ouma Oluga, chairman Samuel Oroko, Allan Ochanji, Mwachonda Chibanzi and Titus Ondoro who were taken to Industrial Area Remand and Allocation prison upon their sentencing.

There, authorities decided to separate them. Dr Oluga was sent to Kamiti Medium Prisons while Dr Titus Ondoro remained in Industrial Area.

Officials said Dr Hamis Chibanzi was taken to Shimo La Tewa while Dr Allan Ochanji was sent to Athi River. Another official said Dr Samuel Oroko was sent to Kajiado while Dr Evelyne Chege to Machakos.

Authorities said the jailed doctors were taken to different facilities to avoid crowding at one prison. 

“Remember, some officials had said they would camp here. We decided to distribute them and that can be changed anytime,” said an official at Kamiti prison.

Dr Korir and Dr Chege joined other women who had come for the hearing or mention of their cases on prison bus. They were taken to search office and frisked for drugs, arms or any stuff that is prohibited in the prison quarters.

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Later Korir and Chege were taken to the documentation office where their details were taken, including where they come from, their relatives’ names, area chief’s name and the nearest market.

They also gave details of items they had, including phones and their types and cost, money among others. The two surrendered their clothes and were given prison uniforms.

They were then taken to a special cell with a double-decker bed, away from the regular inmates, that had water and a bathroom. Each bed has a mattress, a sheet and two blankets.

Around 7:15 pm, the two were served githeri (a mix of maize and beans) and sukuma.

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Normally, supper is served at 5pm but when some of the remandees or inmates have sessions in court, food is reserved for them. It is the one that the doctors’ union officials shared.

Judge Hellen Wasilwa, of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, ruled the doctors were guilty of contempt of court for failing to end the strike.

— Additional reporting by Cyrus Ombati

 

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