Opposition leader Raila Odinga says the government is to blame for the doctors’ strike, which has dragged on for three months.
The former Prime Minister accused the government of lacking the “goodwill” to end the strike.
He said the national government had failed to embrace negotiations to end the strike.
The facts are that the government and doctors held negotiations, used mediators from the law society of Kenya and clerics, but the doctors have remained adamant.
But Mr Odinga said: “Doctors need to be respected and the attitude of ‘take it or leave it’ by the government is only worsening the situation.”
He said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Kisumu Senator, Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o, on the final day of the 4th Devolution Conference at the Kenya Wildlife Service Institute in Naivasha, Nakuru County.
The Nasa coalition co-principal said the national government imposed medical equipment on the devolved units instead of letting them prioritise on their development agenda.
“Those shortcomings are clearly the source of the current stand-off between doctors and the government,” Mr Odinga said.
The ODM party leader spoke of the need to create an interagency organ as an alternative for an appropriate dispute resolution mechanism that cuts across the government and promotes more consultative ways of handling disputes in the public sector.
The doctors’ strike, he said, had exposed “the folly of relying on traditional advisory processes to resolve disputes involving the public”. He described the current approach as too costly.
Mr Odinga’s speech focused on the next five years of devolution, a system that he said has succeeded despite teething problems and “doomsday prophets”.
The former Prime Minister was scheduled to visit his daughter who is admitted in a South African hospital.
END OF NEGOTIATIONS
At the same time, governors have ruled out further negotiations with the striking doctors and dismissed a call by the health workers for another chance as dishonest.
Council of Governors chairman Peter Munya said in Naivasha that the doctors squandered all the opportunities for negotiations in the three months they were on strike and there would be no further talks.
“Their call is ill intentioned and in bad faith and was bound to fail,” Mr Munya, the Meru governor, told a news conference on the sidelines of the conference.
“We are not taking them seriously. They have been approaching it with cards under the table.”
He said as far as the county governments were concerned the deadline for doctors to report to work lapsed on Wednesday.
Counties would first establish how many of the 3,000 doctors had not resumed work before they start hiring their replacements.
“Our boards are already working to find out the number of expatriate doctors we want to hire,” Mr Munya said.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, the governors’ health committee chairman, accused doctors of shifting goalposts.
He faulted the signing of the collective bargaining agreement a month after the county bosses assumed office.