National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi on Monday accused the government of mishandling the doctors’ strike.
The two spoke after the Labour court sent the doctors’ union officials to jail for disobeying a court order.
Speaking in Kisii on Monday where he had gone to receive Prof Sam Ongeri who defected from Jubilee, Mr Odinga said: “Even as Kenyans die daily in hospitals it is certainly gross for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to be canvassing for votes.”
And in a statement, Mr Odinga instructed his lawyers to immediately convene and take up the doctors’ case against the government.
“Rather than resolve the crisis in the health sector, the jailing of union officials deepens it and sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It marks out the government as a dishonest and unreliable employer whose word, even in writing, counts for nothing,” said the ODM leader.
He said this had “grim implications” in the resolving of future conflicts between the government and other entities. Mr Odinga said the university lecturers’ strike was “equally taking a bad turn as the government fumbles”.
The notion that courts are the entities to resolve disputes between employers and employees was dangerous and disturbing, he said.
The doctors’ strike has been dragging on for more than two months even after a court declared it illegal.
Mr Odinga said the money that could have been used to pay doctors was peanuts compared to that which Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto give around the country.
Amani National Congress leader Mudavadi also took issue with the way the government was handling the strikes. Mr Mudavadi said the Nasa government would have the solution to problems facing the country.
“We are now a coalition whose strong pillars are intact and ready to dislodge them (Jubilee) from power,” said Mr Mudavadi.
Prof Ongeri has been a Jubilee defender in Kisii but switched to ODM through which he will seek a Senate seat. At least seven ward representatives and several aspirants also crossed to the ODM side on Monday.
Those who switched to ODM were MCAs Sammu Keronche (Gesusu), Obote Motonu (Riana), Kennedy Nyakundi (Keumbu) and Samuel Nyagaka (Nyamasibi).
Aspirants Samuel Ondora (South Mugirango) and lawyer Migosi Ogamba (Kitutu Chache North) also defected from the Jubilee Party. “I am at home and will not leave any time soon,” said Prof Ongeri.
He said he was heeding the call of the Abagusii.
Governors John Nyagarama (Nyamira), Okoth Obado (Migori) and Kisii’s James Ongwae were also in attendance.
Reported by Magati Obebo, Ruth Mbula and Eunice Kilonzo