Police and doctors union disagree over ongoing medics' strike

Doctors taking part in the ongoing strike that is entering week five. [File, Standard]

Police and doctors have sharply disagreed over the ongoing doctors’ strike.

This was hours after Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome issued a statement Sunday morning, asking police commanders to deal with doctors on strike ‘firmly’.

In his statement, Koome warned the striking doctors against disrupting normal activities in hospitals and even across the country.

“We have information that non-medics to cause havoc and terror to the public intend to join the ongoing processions, a move that poses a threat to public safety and security. In the interest of national security, therefore, all respective Police Commanders have been instructed to deal with such situations firmly and decisively following the law,” Koome stated.

“The medics have become a public nuisance, blowing whistles and vuvuzelas during the demonstrations thus causing discomfort to patients in hospitals and the general public,”

The statement by the police boss did not sit right with the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) and some human rights groups.

Through their lawyer, they have called out IG Koome for ordering police to ‘firmly’ deal with doctors and threatened to sue if he does not apologise for the Feb 29 assault on KMPDU Secretary-General Davji Atellah by police.

“We thus demand that you retract the directive and apologise for it publicly by 6:00 pm today, Sunday, 14 April 2024. In your retraction, you must also apologise for the violent attack by police on Dr Davji Atela on 27 February 2024. If you disregard our demand by the specified time, we will initiate court proceedings against you,”. The letter reads in part.

If successfully filed in court, the suit will include human rights groups like the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Katiba Institute (KI), The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA), Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya), Africa Centre for Open Governance (AFRICOG), Tribeless Youth, and Siasa Place.