Talks over nurses’ strike flop as governors skip meeting

A meeting supposed to bring the ongoing nurses’ strike to a halt ended in disarray after the medics stormed out.

Officials of the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) walked out of the Council of Governors (CoG) offices, arguing that the convened meeting had no “agenda”.

The meeting that kicked off some minutes past 10am quickly escalated into a heated debate, with harsh words being hurled inside the boardroom before the nurses walked out.

Apparently, no governor turned up for the meeting, including the Health Committee chairman and Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and Human Resource chairman, Kisii Governor James Ongwae.

Instead, they were represented by County Public Service board members and a secretariat team that included officials from the Ministry of Health.

Governors’ absence

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But according to KNUN, it was not the governors’ absence that they found annoying.

“The secretariat team representing them did not even have a clue of what was to be discussed,” said KNUN’s acting Secretary General Maurice Opetu.

Despite insisting that both parties were positive towards the talks, Mr Opetu said the problem was that CoG was not ready for a proper engagement.

Earlier, nurses had affirmed their position that athough they had agreed to talks, this should not be seen as a chance for them to compromise as all they would be seeking was a date to sign their pay deal.

“Governors are not only taking the lives of Kenyans lightly but also the strike. They are not sensitive to the plight of nurses,” said Opetu, who was accompanied by the union’s acting chairman, Joseph Ngwasi.

The nurses have been on strike for 47 days. 

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