A court has extended orders blocking the Government from hiring 1,400 doctors from Tanzania.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court gave the order as President John Magufuli’s government also redeployed 258 of the doctors that were to come to Kenya.
According to media reports, Tanzania’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu announced the Government had decided all those who qualified for the Kenyan market be employed locally.
At the same time, the Public Service Commission told the court in Nairobi that an employer cannot be blocked from hiring foreign manpower where a need arises.
The reply filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Nelson Abuodha said there aren’t enough doctors in the country hence the need to get the workforce from the neighbouring country.
“The court cannot compel the Government to employ staff since employment in the public service is dependent upon availability of vacancies and availability of funds,” PSC Chief Executive Officer Alice Otawa replied. “The third respondent is also not aware of 1,400 medical practitioners or dentists who have been denied employment.”
The issue came to court after a group of doctors sought legal redress, saying the Government’s move was unfair to Kenyans who have no jobs, and was illegal.
The case filed by five doctors: Kahindi Teddy, Yunus Mohamed, Lilian Nyambeki, Victor Muia and Aldrin Flavian also said 1,400 trained doctors in the country were unemployed.
“The applicants contend the decision to employ foreign practitioners while disregarding qualified skills from the local market is in violation of the constitution and the laws of Kenya,” their petition read in part.
The five said the Government did not consult Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union officials saying if they had, they would have been told that there was enough manpower to boost health services in the country.
Justice Abuodha extended the orders until June 5 when the case will be mentioned.