Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia has broken ranks with his colleagues and said he will not sack striking nurses in his county but will instead embrace dialogue.
The governor has faulted the approach the Council of Governors has used in addressing the nurses’ strike saying sacking them is not a solution.
He said the nurses and other county employees are not criminals but citizens of Kenya who deserve better leadership and not arbitrary sackings.
He said his administration is opposed to the sackings ordered by the council, adding that he will instead engage them through dialogue.
“I have refused to go that way even at the county government. The employees are qualified professionals serving Kenyans. They deserve a chance to be heard and opportunity to serve people,” said the governor.
He spoke after addressing the Nyandarua County Assembly.
The governor’s position goes against the who will not have reported to work by Friday.
The council wrote to governors asking them to advertise positions held by any nurses in their regions who do not report for duty on Friday.
The directive was based on a council meeting held on August 31 which resolved that all striking nurses should return to work by September 8, failing which county governments will issue show cause letters and advertise the positions to be filled competitively.
The letter was written by CoG chief executive officer Ms Jacqueline Mogeni and ordered governors to implement the resolutions arrived at during the meeting.
However, Mr Kimemia Thursday said the governors’ council should strive to apply workable solutions in dealing with the nurses, suggesting more dialogue.
“Sacking them is not the way to go. We are embarking on dialogue with our nurses. They have expressed their desire to report back and we can still negotiate with them as they save lives. We have handled tougher strikes in the past,” the governor said.
He gave the example of teachers’ strikes which paralysed learning in public schools when he served as the secretary to the Cabinet which he said were all amicably resolved.
On local issues, Mr Kimemia promised to have a lean cabinet of ten with fifteen departments, emphasising the need to have a special ministry to handle the affairs of the youth and disabled people.
He also challenged the county assembly to investigate and make public how billions of shillings allocated to the county government were utilised since the start of devolution.
“Nyandarua County is in a pathetic state. The poverty levels stand at 46 percent above the national’s 45 percent. In its oversight role, the assembly has the responsibility to have those funds accounted for,” said the governor.
Official says strike is still on until workers’ demands are met like was the case for doctors.