• 'Even if you make noise, unless the money comes, there is going to be no solution and you will not be happy. But we are working on the matter'
Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has told striking nurses to stop making noise about their unpaid salaries because protests won't resolve the matter.
Health workers have boycotted work in scores of counties to push the devolved governments to pay their delayed salaries. Counties claim they don't have the cash to pay workers because the Treasury has not released funds.
On Wednesday, Kiraitu told Meru nurses that his administration was not to blame.
"This is a money problem which can only be solved by money. So until the money comes from the Treasury, we can't pay you," Kiraitu told the striking nurses outside his office in Meru town.
"Even if you make noise, unless the money comes, there is going to be no solution and you will not be happy. But we are working on the matter."
The nurses had held a demonstration from the Meru Teaching and Referral Hospital to the county headquarters demanding to be addressed by the governor about the status of their salaries.
County secretary Rufus Miriti earlier tried to calm down the medics. He told them that the governor was away in Nairobi only for Kiraitu to emerge from his office as the nurses were dispersing.
The nurses rushed towards him shouting "baba yetu amekuja" (our father has come). But their hopes for good news were soon shattered.
Kiraitu said the nurses should wait until Tuesday next week when he promised to give them good news. He said the county had some money in the County Revenue Fund in Nairobi but could not access it without the approval of the Division of Revenue Bill.
"Our money has been there to pay July salaries, but we cannot access it until that law is passed," Kiraitu said.
But some nurses were not happy with the news and murmured as the governor addressed them.
"What interest would I have to keep your money? If I was the one handling the money, I would have paid you by now," Kiraitu said.
"We should stop making noise and hurling insults because even if you scream but the money is not there, you will not be paid."
The nurses agreed to resume duty but said they will boycott work if the good news promised does not come by Tuesday.
Ealier nurses union secretary general for Meru branch Moses Baiyenia said the workers had not been paid for two months.
Baiyenia blamed the county government for refusing to promote nurses who have stagnated for between seven to 10 years in one job group.
On Tuesday, Deputy Governor Titus Ntochiu asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and end the stalemate between National Assembly and Senate over the Division of Revenue Bill. He said counties were hurting.
edited by peter obuya