Moi doctors strike enters second month, no end in sight

200 doctor-lecturers at Moi University medical school demand Sh200m clinical allowances

In Summary

• Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union says it will not call off the strike until they are paid more than Sh200 million enhanced clinical allowances.

• Medical students say no learning is going on; hospital says it has its own doctors and there is no disruption. 

KMPDU national chairman Abiud Dan Mwachiwith other union officials at the Moi University School of Medicine on December 3.
DOCTORS STRIKE: KMPDU national chairman Abiud Dan Mwachiwith other union officials at the Moi University School of Medicine on December 3.

The strike by doctor-lecturers at the Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret has entered the second month with no end in sight. 

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union says it will not call off the strike by more than 200 doctor-lecturers demanding more than Sh200 million in enhanced clinical allowances.

The money has been released by the Treasury but withheld by the university for two years, they said, claiming it had been improperly diverted. They want the EACC to investigate.

In addition to teaching, they also provide medical services, hence, the enhanced clinical allowances.

They are also demanding remittance of another Sh70 million statutory deductions withheld by the university.

The university says it has its own 320 doctors and services have not been affected.

KMPDU secretary for the North Rift Dr Kamunzi Mulei said the university is yet to release the money they are demanding and they will not end their strike until they receive the funds.

‘The university has ignored our demands for the last one month and we will also stay put with the strike until our demands are met," Mulei said.

Vice Chancellor Prof Isaac Kosgey has said the issues were being dealt with but so far they have failed to reach an agreement.

KMPDU national chairman Abiud Dan Mwachi led union officials  in the North Rift branch to petition Education CS  George Magoha to intervene and ensure the university pays what is demanded.

The money has been approved and released but the university is broke.

“In fact, we have demanded the Vice Chancellor of Moi University should be removed to stop him from presiding over the collapse of this once-bright beacon of higher education," Mwachi said. 

He said the university was in a desolate state and a pale shadow of itself, with no learning taking place as all operations had collapsed.

Kosgey has denied causing the financial problems at the university and has blamed them on historical problems.

Leader of medical students Jin Rayan Wandia said their studies had been disrupted frequently. Due to the unending problems, most of them were unable to complete their courses and graduate.

“Currently I am a fifth year medical student but am now in my eighth year of studies and with what we are going through, we may still spend more years here," Wandia said.

Dr Mulei and Dawin Ambuka, who is chairman of the KMPDU North Rift branch, said the university management led by Kosgey had not responded to their demand to be paid. 

The medical school has more than 200 students who complain they are  idling at the institution because of the strike.

Dr Mulei said the Treasury had released the money to the university after it was approved and asked why it was not released to the doctor-lecturers within the notice period.

The Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital management said its services have not been affected by the strike.

Hospital CEO Dr Wilson Aruasa said the facility has 320 of its own doctors and they will continue to provide services as usual.

“Our staff have no issue with the hospital and services are going on as before," Aruasa said.

Dr Davji Bhimji Atella, who is the KPMDU secretary general, met the doctors in Eldoret three weeks ago. He told them the university management had illegally diverted the money released by the Treasury two years ago.

Dr Atella said they had written to the EACC to probe how the money went missing at the university, causing the doctor-lecturers to suffer yet the government had given out the cash.

He said the doctor-lecturers had been patient enough and dialogue to  had failed.

"There is a lot of misappropriation of funds  that has made it difficult for the doctors to be paid their dues. The doctors can not continue working while the money they deserve to be paid is missing," he said.

The doctors say they had been blacklisted by financial institutions because deductions from their salaries were not being remitted by the university. He said all medical practitioners, specialists, pharmacists and all dentists were on strike.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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