The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) has demanded that Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe be imprisoned for forcing top KEMSA executives to proceed on leave.
The union contended, through lawyer Henry Kurauka, that the CS should be prosecuted for violating a court order by seeking to terminate the contracts of the 23 senior managers.
“Sending the affected managers and other KEMSA employees on compulsory leave is tantamount to terminating their contracts which affects their terms and conditions of employment,” Kurauka told the Standard.
CS Kagwe, KEMSA chairman Mary Mwadime, and interim CEO John Kabuchi, according to the lawyer, went above their role and did not follow labor practices when they sent the staff home last Thursday.
“The CS and the KEMSA board are in contempt of court when they are all aware of the court order which suspended any restructuring of the body. They cannot operate as if they are above the law and must be jailed for their actions,” Kurauka added.
The medics now want Kagwe, Mwadime, and Kabuchi imprisoned for six months for disobeying a November 2021 court order that halted the supplies agency’s restructure in response to a doctors’ union appeal.
The 23 top managers and directors were sent home on Thursday in an effort to reduce accrued leave days over two years.
Before being led out of KEMSA headquarters by police officers, the executives were only allowed to retrieve personal things on Friday morning.
Last week, Kemsa board chair Mary Mwadime assured the public that the reforms at the government agency are only meant to fine-tune the organization to current market demands.
“This process kicked off late last year, and all staff members were requested to work from home. As part of this process, the Board has progressed to the next level in this transformation journey and achieved specific milestones,” she said.
KMPDU, a Nakuru-based doctor, and 71 staff members went to court in November last year to prevent the planned seizure of KEMSA by members of the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and the National Youth Service (NYS).
The union claimed in its application that the authority’s decision to fire 900 employees and replace them with KDF and NYS members was discriminatory and amounted to unjust termination of employment.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court will make a ruling on the matter on February 24.