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Court allow doctors to challenge decision by the county to sack 62 doctors

By Nderitu Gichure | August 16th 2019
Empty Lamuria hospital wards as patients shun Laikipia hospitals over health crisis. [Jacinta Mutura/ Standard]

A court has allowed a doctors’ union to file judicial review proceedings against a decision by Laikipia county government to sack 62 doctors who participated in a strike in June.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Nzioki wa Makau directed the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) to serve the devolved unit and County Public Service Board (CPSB) within 21 days.

The judge said doctors who are already back to work should continue executing their duties while those who are away should not return to work.

“The court is minded that positions previously held by the doctors are in the process of being filled. It also notes some of the doctors have been appointed to their positions. Let status quo apply to the applicants before court pending hearing and determination of the judicial review,” Justice Makau ruled.

KMPDU South Rift branch secretary Davji Bhinji Atella said the county had terminated their employment unprocedurally by signing a shorter notice contrary to public service human resource manual.

“The actions were guided by malice as the respondents have subsequently purported to withdraw termination letters of 26 doctors in a posting order dated June 28, 2019,” said Dr Atella.

While urging the court to stop recruitment of medical officers, dentists, pharmacists, medical specialists and pharmaceutical specialist, Atella said the doctors were facing "imminent risk of suffering irreparable harm".

But County Secretary Karanja Njora said the doctors were lawfully and fairly terminated for gross misconduct for absenting themselves from their workplaces during working hours.

Mr Njora said the doctors had been warned about the consequences of their actions. The case will be mentioned on September 23.

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