Concerns that differences between a Cabinet Secretary and his principal secretary could be behind the protracted doctors’ strike, became evident yesterday when the two appeared before a Parliamentary committee.
Health Principal Secretary, Dr Nicholas Muraguri differed with Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr Cleopa Maillu over appointment of a team from the ministry, to participate in the negotiations spearheaded by court appointed mediators, to resolve the stalemate.
Whereas Dr Muraguri who apologized for the perception created that he was not working well with his boss, claimed that he had discussed with Dr Maillu about the matter, the Cabinet Secretary disowned the claims.
Dr Maillu told the PS to his face when both appeared before the Senate Health Committee that they did not agree that he changes the name for the government official, who was to lead the ministry representatives.
“At no time did we discuss that change of names with the PS,” Dr Maillu told the committee chaired by Dr Wilfred Machage (Migori).
“Therefore, I want to clarify that whereas I accept the apology. We have a responsibility to take the ministry forward. We have mandates which are given through appointment letters and respective authorities and that what we work with.”
Dr Muraguri said he was apologetic because of the misunderstanding and perception that implied that he acted insubordination when he offered an alternative name to replace him.
This was in response to the Cabinet Secretary’s memo that was clear that he should head a team of four senior officials from the ministry, in the negotiations meant to end the strike on its 73rd day.
“My memo was finalizing a process. I thought we had agreed. We have a good working relationship with the CS. I know my space. He is a team leader. We work as a team. I respect him as the CS and he is our senior even professionally as a doctor,” Dr Muraguri said.
But, the Senators pointed out that many Kenyans who cannot afford treatment in private hospitals were suffering as the two officers fought imaginary wars, yet they had a mandate to ensure normalcy resumes in the health sector.
“When two bulls fight it is the grass that suffers. In this scenario it is very clear and its murmured very widely in the media and the country that there is bad blood between you and the CS,” Ms Zipporah Kittony, the committee’s vice chairperson said.