Nurses in the country have petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop his presidential campaigns and address grievances that led to their strike, which entered its sixth week on Saturday.
The nurses said it was painful to see patients suffering in public hospitals while the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Council of Governors were locked in a disagreement over how to end the stalemate.
Led by the acting Kenya National Union of Nurses chairman Joseph Ngwasi, the nurses said the two bodies charged with deliberating on the collective bargaining agreement were not keen on addressing the strike.
Speaking when he led nurses in Embu on a demonstration to the local county Public Service Board office on Saturday, Mr Ngwasi dismissed a claim that nurses were being used politically to destabilise the government.
He reiterated that they were holding a lawful strike and would only go back to work once the CBA was signed.
“Let those holding campaigns suspend their political activities because Kenyans are dying. Nurses agreed to postpone their strike last year and the court ruled that a CBA be signed by March 2.
“The nurses were very obedient and patient waiting for the concerned parties to agree. As far as we are concerned, this strike was called by the government since it didn’t meet its side of the deal,” he said.
Mr Ngwasi also said Knun would write to the Nursing Council of Kenya to stop Embu government from deploying Kenya Medical Training College students to attend to patients at the Embu Level Five Hospital, saying they were endangering lives.
“The law doesn’t allow anybody, including students, who are not registered by the nursing council of Kenya to practice. We are going to write to the nursing council to stop the students from attending to patients. The consequences could be dire as patients could be harmed,” he said.
Mr Ngwasi said they would boycott work until they were paid the nursing services allowances.
In the deal entered on December 20 last year, the national government and the council of governors agreed to pay nurses Sh20,000 in allowances, which was to be effected in two phases.
The first batch of Sh12,000 was to be paid in January 2017 and the other one amounting to Sh8,000 would be effected in July 2017.
In Mombasa the nurses also petitioned Governor Hassan Joho to take a break from the campaigns and address their strike.
The nurses held a procession to the governor’s office urging him to intervene and end the strike.
The nurses led by county branch secretary Peter Maroko and Miriam Mbithi (chairperson) claimed the governor was not keen on resolving the stalemate.
“Today is the 38th day of the nurses’ strike but the government seems not to notice .The recruitment of incompetent, unskilled and unspecialised nurses should not be allowed,” said Mr Maroko.
He urged Mr Joho to consult the national government on how to end the strike.
“Governor Joho should take a break even for a day to address the strike. We encourage him to reach out to Governor Josephat Nanok, the chairman of the Council of Governors to hold talks on the issue.”