Court Blocks Takeover of Kemsa By Military

Kenya Medical Supplies Agencies headquarters in Industrial Area Nairobi. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

A Nairobi court has blocked the planned takeover of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) by the military amid mismanagement allegations.

In orders issued on Monday, the Employment and Labour Relations Court also barred Kemsa from laying off over 900 workers in what the board described recently as a restructuring process.

The orders were obtained by the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) which is opposed to the government’s plans to enlist officers from the National Youth Service (NYS) and Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to oversee operations of the agency.

Justice Kebiria Ocharo ruled that the orders would remain in force pending hearing and determination of the petition by the union.

The case will be mentioned on November 16.

Read: EACC, DPP Respond to Citizen TV Over Stalled KEMSA Saga Probe

The doctors want the court to declare the decision of the Kemsa board to enlist the services of KDF and NYS officers illegal.

Through lawyer Henry Kurauka, the union argues that in the absence of an emergency or a disaster the deployment of the NYS servicemen and the military is unlawful.

There were reports that the military took over the agency on Monday just days after the board released all non-core staff to work from home for 30 days pending appraisal.

In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday, Kemsa board Chairperson Mary Chao Mwadime said the move followed recommendations made by a multi-agency Taskforce formed to provide an independent operating recovery strategy for the agency to facilitate organisational effectiveness.

Also Read: KEMSA Releases All Non-core Staff To Work From Home as Restructuring Starts

The Taskforce was formed in June following claims that billions had been lost in irregular procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country in March last year.

Mwadime said the core operating teams under a caretaker management team had been notified, appointed and mobilised to ensure seamless operations in the intervening period.

Another petition by Nakuru-based doctor Mageri Gikenyi Benjamin challenging the takeover of the state agency by the military is pending in court.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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