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This is not the time to hold govt to ransom, Raila tells doctors

By Amina Wako December 8th, 2020 2 min read

ODM party leader Raila Odinga has been receiving backlash from a section of Kenyans following his remark to doctors who have threatened to down their tools over what they termed as poor working conditions.

Speaking in Kisumu County on Monday, Odinga asked the doctors not to hold the government at ransom over their grievances as the Covid-19 pandemic affected everyone.

“All I want to do is to appeal to our doctors to be more understanding. We are in a crisis at the moment, people are dying. It is not only doctors who are dying, ordinary Kenyans are also dying of Covid-19.  We are also in a die-hard situation as far as the economy is concerned. This is not the time to hold the government to ransom,” Raila said.

The ODM party leader further reminded the doctors in the frontline in the fight against Coronavirus that they made an oath to protect the lives of people.

“The doctors themselves took an oath to protect lives, how then can you justify downing of tools when people are dying?” he posed.

However, Kenyans on social media accused Odinga of being insensitive to the plight of medics who face the highest risk of contracting the virus that has so far claimed the lives of 1,531 Kenyans.

This is how Kenyans reacted to Odinga’s statement coming hours after Dr Stephen Mogusu, who was stationed in Machakos, died from Covid-19 related complications.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMDU) had issued a notice two weeks ago, threatening to mobilise its members to strike on Monday, December 7, unless the government meets their demands.

KMPDU’s acting Secretary-General Chibanzi Mwachonda on Sunday night announced that the strike had been suspended for 14 days to allow for dialogue.

Despite doctors calling off their strike the Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) and the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers (KUCO) downed their tools to protest lack of sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for those in the frontline against Covid-19.

According to the unions, at least 763 clinical officers in public and private facilities have been infected with Covid-19.

Since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country in March, 13 doctors, 26 nurses and nine clinical officers have succumbed to the virus.