Doctors’ strike: Uhuru hosts union officials for crisis talks at secret location
Kenyans are hopeful that Thursday’s meeting by President Uhuru Kenyatta, with the heads of the Catholic and Anglican church and the doctors’ union leaders, will put an end to the misery caused by the 88-day- old doctors’ strike.
The crisis meeting, to be held at an undisclosed location in Nairobi, will bring to the table the President, Cardinal John Njue, Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit and the leadership of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU), the Daily Nation has exclusively learnt.
The objective of the meeting is to “try to end the strike” coming a day after President Kenyatta held a four-hour long meeting — from noon to about 4pm — with Cardinal Njue and Archbishop Ole Sapit in State House Nairobi.
Details of the closed-door meeting between the government and the two religious leaders are said to be highly confidential so as not to jeopardise the ongoing talks.
The talks to end the strike have been mediated by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).
However, it is understood that during the meeting, the President appointed a team of his senior staff to be in touch with the bishops to plan for Thursday’s meeting.
Prior to this meeting, Cardinal Njue and Archbishop Ole Sapit had met representatives from the KMPDU for nearly 48 hours where it was agreed that it was paramount that “the President had to be involved.”
This led to the four-hour meeting on Wednesday.
Asked about these meetings, a source from the doctors told the Daily Nation that “there are meetings going on”, adding that they “await some meeting with the President as and when State House confirms it.”
This comes as spirited mediation talks to resolve the stalemate between the doctors’ union and the government were adjourned on Friday after a deadlock.
With this was an ultimatum by the mediators for both parties to soften their positions or “an appropriate report” on the matter would be submitted today to the Court of Appeal by KNCHR and LSK.
Therefore, the meeting slated for today is likely to happen after the filing of the report in court on Thursday.
The talks ended on Friday because the doctors claimed they were frustrated that the government refused to improve the 40 per cent offer it had given to the health workers despite the doctors revising their demands downwards.