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’

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Parliament - JAMES MBAKA @onchir­im­baka

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.

/HEZRON NJOROGE

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

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