Kitui County closes hospital over threats to non-local casual workers

Kitui county government has indefinitely closed Kyuso sub-county hospital, in Mwingi North following threats to casual workers at the facility.

The decision to close the facility was communicated by the hospital medical superintendent Dr Daniel Misiani who, in a letter dated September 3, said the facility will remain closed until the threats are investigated by police and calm restored.

“Owing to concerns associated with impending unrest and insecurity at the hospital following threats posed by unknown entities to members of staff working within the hospital, the county ministry of health has decided to close the facility indefinitely pending investigations by law enforcement agencies,” the letter reads in part. It is copied to both the director and chief officer in charge of health and sanitation in Kitui County government as well as sub county administrator for Mwingi North.

The medical superintended noted that county employees and those supported by implementing partners had thus been released on “special leave” and will only resume duty upon communication on the same. In addition, contracts for the current subordinate staff (casuals) were terminated with immediate effect.

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The decision was taken after anonymous letters were dropped at the facility by unknown people warning casual workers who do not come from the area to leave.

“Notice: All casuals from other sub counties to vacate Kyuso hospital immediately. Wale wote mlioletwa hapa kwetu hospitalini na governor muondoke kabla siku tatu la sivyo mtatambua sisi ni kina nani (Those who were brought in our hospital by the Governor should leave within three days or face consequences),” the typed anonymous letters read.

Kyuso OCPD Charles Machinji however said nobody had formally reported the said threats to the police, saying he learned about the leaflets from social media. The police boss however said that security officers were on high alert to deal with any cases of lawlessness.

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The closure of the facility which serves the entire Mwingi North region seems to have taken a political angle with Kyuso MCA Stephen Musili Makau blaming the county government for playing politics with lives of the area residents.

The MCA termed the move as a diversionary tactic after he publicly questioned Governor Charity Ngilu on the manner in which a huge number of casual workers had been employed at the hospital from outside the region yet there were many unemployed people in the area.

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“This is a diversionary tactic to create a scenario of insecurity so as not to be held accountable. I genuinely raised concerns on why casuals were being brought from outside when we have so many unemployed people in this region. There is no insecurity at all,” Makau said Thursday.

Kitui county assembly which is at loggerheads with Governor Ngilu has in the past accused the county executive of ballooning the county wage bill by irregularly employing causals mostly in health facilities.

The Governor on her part has accused the MCAs of orchestrating a political scheme to frustrate her work and set her up against the voters.

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