Karanja-Kihika wars: Senator calls for Kihika's ouster as War Memorial hospital saga rages

Nakuru Senator Tabitha Karanja has called on Members of Nakuru County Assembly to initiate an impeachment motion against Governor Susan Kihika for allegedly violating the Constitution.

Citing the events at the War Memorial Hospital, where county enforcement officers raided the facility, and chased away doctors, nurses and staff, Karanja challenged the MCAs to take up their oversight role and initiate the removal of the governor from office.

She said the raid at the hospital and the cruel treatment of patients was ground to impeach the governor.

The calls for impeachment came just hours after a patient who was admitted to the hospital’s High Dependence Unit (HDU) died a day after the forceful takeover.

Mau Narok Matatu Sacco chairman David Kimani alias Wamathingira, was among 17 patients admitted to the hospital at the time of the raid.

Governor Kihika is yet to address the recent developments at the hospital, but County Secretary Samuel Mwaura, has been heavily involved in the saga.

Ms Karanja insisted that she was doing her oversight duty and the hospital saga had eroded investors’ confidence.

Accompanied by local leaders, the senator, claimed that the health sector in Nakuru, which for years had been the envy of neighbouring counties, was on its knees.

She cited health centres in Naivasha, Gilgil, Mai Mahiu and Molo which remain unused despite being completed by the previous regime.

Karanja said the rains started beating the county when it sacked more than 500 health workers in July last year and allegedly replaced them with unqualified personnel.

“Instead of supporting local investors and focusing on attracting more health investors, Kihika is ordering the arrest of the War Memorial Hospital investors on false allegations,” she said.

She announced that she has no interest in the governors position and was keen to do her over sight role safeguard the rights of voters.

“We are calling on the EACC, DCI and the relevant government agencies to investigate how public funds are being used as we fear there is massive embezzlement,” she said.

The senator claimed that since the governor took office, she has been undermining other elected leaders and calling them names.

“I will continue to perform my oversight role with zeal and passion without fear or favour because I have the mandate of the great people of Nakuru county,” she said.

While comforting families that lost their kin, she called on the Ministry of Health to intervene and ensure no more lives are lost because of the hospital dispute.

“The land lease by the hospital is genuine but some people want to take over this prime land, and its time MCAs acted as there are enough grounds for impeachment,” she said.

The county enforcement officers stayed put at the War Memorial Hospital despite a Tuesday court order by Justice Millicent Odeny.

The askaris refused to be served with the court order delivered at the facility by Moses Mbuthia, court process server.

The officer in charge of the county enforcement team said he will only receive orders from the Nakuru Police Commander Samuel Ndanyi.

The court had directed Ndanyi to ensure that the medics regained access to the facility.

The Standard could not reach the police boss for comment as he did not respond to calls on his mobile phone nor text messages.

He was not even in his office at the Nakuru Central Police Station.

Earlier, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Patricia Musale recorded a statement at Kaputembwo Police Station over claims that her life was in danger.

She wants the police to investigate a call and text message she allegedly received from an anonymous caller threatening to kill her.

“Listen to me very carefully. We know you are working for wazungu nyinyi munataka kuua wagonjwa hata mtu moja akipoteza Maisha yake you will know you don’t know tunajua mahali unaishi tutatembelea wewe na hio kichwa tutaenda nayo,” read the message sent through mobile number 0754911386.

The threat came five hours after the county enforcement officers led by the County Secretary raided the hospital, forced all the staff out, before transferring 17 patients to other facilities.

Following the raid, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has vowed to sue the county government for the violation of rights through harassment and intimidation.

LSK Chair Nakuru Chapter Henry Opondo said one of their members lost his relative after he was transferred from the hospital on Tuesday morning.

“The situation here is a violation of rights because it has caused anxiety to hospital staff, members of the public and patients who had been hospitalized here,” said Opondo.

He admitted that the hospital has been very resourceful and recalled that at one-time former Justice David Maraga sought treatment there.

Opondo regretted that the county government, which swore to protect patients and residents in Nakuru was now frustrating them.

“We call on the government to stop disregarding court orders and honour its residents. We will ensure that justice for our colleague who lost his relative is served,” he said.

The LSK chairperson called on residents whose rights had been violated to report to any law firm, and they will be represented in the petition, “Their information will be crucial and will be treated confidentially.”

Musale confirmed the death of the patient and expressed frustration of patients who had been barred from accessing medical services.

She said they were frustrated because the hospital is a source of daily bread for over 300 staff; nurses, support staff, pharmacists, lab technicians, housekeepers, and over 100 doctors (resident and consultants) and suppliers.

“The losses we have incurred are huge because we were recovering from the loss of last year when the hospital was taken over for the first time,” she said.

After the interview she urged staff who were there in a show of solidarity to go home and return on Thursday.