Stop political campaigns and end medics’ strike, ODM MPs tell President
They accuse the Jubilee administration of clinging to county functions. ‘We stand with health workers, condemn Uhuru’s business-as-usual approach’
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s studious silence amid the ravaging healthcare crisis has stoked a barrage of criticism, with opposition MPs demanding he calls off his political campaigns.
Six ODM lawmakers yesterday condemned Uhuru and Deputy President William Ruto for “abandoning the country” with their whirlwind schedule of political engagements.
The country entered day three of a paralysed healthcare system without a word from the President. ODM said it has initiated the recall of Parliament from a two-month recess for a joint session to deliberate on the matter.
The MPs were Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Florence Mutua (Busia), Fred Outa (Nyando), Zulekha Hassan (nominated)and National Assembly Health Committee members Raphael Otaalo (Lurambi) and James Nyikal (Seme).
They termed the raging health crisis a creation of the Jubilee administration, which, they said, wants to continue clinging to billions meant for devolved functions.
The legislators said Jubilee has been keen to starve the counties of the money they need to finance essential devolved functions so it can provide itself and its lieutenants with “a source of quick stolen cash”.
In a statement read by Wandayi, they said, “The time to show leadership is now. We demand the Presi- dent cut short his political campaigns and intervene to have the health services resume and save Kenyans from the anguish and pain they are going through.”
Wandayi, who is the ODM secretary for political affairs, said Jubilee orchestrated the now full-blown crisis when they ensured there was no proper costing of all the devolved functions by the now defunct Transitional Authority. “Jubilee blocked costing of the functions as a deliberate move to retain bills at its disposal and make money available for thieves,” he said.
Wandayi said the counties have inadequate funds to pay health workers because large sums meant for them are held at the Treasury.
“We concur that doctors, clinical officers, nurses and other health workers deserve better terms of employment, which the county governments cannot offer presently because Jubilee is sitting on monies and some functions meant for the counties,” he said.
“We stand with the health workers and condemn the President for his silence and his business-as-usual approach to the crisis. We demand action today, not a day longer.”
The MPs opened a warpath with Jubilee, as Bureti MP Leonard Sang drafted a constitutional amendment bill seeking to centralise health functions. The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2016, seen by the Star, proposes amendment to the Fourth Schedule by deleting a key section that devolves Health to the counties.
ODM MPs Florence Mutua, Opiyi Wandayi and Zulekha Hassan during a media briefing at Parliament Buildings yesterday. They urged the government to intervene and stop the ongoing doctors and nurses’ strike