COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Insurers, employers and Cotu have abandoned workers

Kenyan workers must not remain docile, allowing to be exploited by uncaring government and employers

In Summary

• Insurance companies are becoming a major health scam, stacking billions annually at the expense of the people they purport to insure.

• Workers must now lobby their employers against rigid exploitative insurance companies whose policies only offer 'lip service'

Some labour workers showcasing their products at Uhuru Park during Labour day celebrations on May 1,2019
Some labour workers showcasing their products at Uhuru Park during Labour day celebrations on May 1,2019
Image: FILE

The death of Dr Stephen Mogusu, who succumbed to Covid-19, and the pending bill he left behind is an indication of a grave danger we are all in. Only that Dr Mogusu's fate hasn't befallen us yet. Abandoned by his employer and with no medical cover, he was all left in the hands of his poor family. His poor father went begging, racing against time, to save his son's life to no avail. Mogusu succumbed, abandoned and desperate.

Most medical insurance companies have declined to cover Covid-19 patients, and not even the taxpayer-funded NHIF is willing to step in. The NHIF has no business deducting workers enmass when they can't come to their aid, in their hour of need. Where do they take our contributions to, if not to line their own deeppockets? Either they make it a selective insurance for the willing or secure the wellbeing of those funding its operations — the poor workers.

Insurance companies are becoming a major health scam, stacking billions annually at the expense of the people they purport to insure. Workers must now lobby their employers against rigid exploitative insurance companies whose policies only offer 'lip service' to the insured as they rake in millions annually. Henceforth, those that refuse to pay, even half the total cost, for Covid-related illness, should be blacklisted, starved to their knees. Such measures will reawaken them, to act responsible.

Kenyan workers, despite their input in the growth of the nation, are ill treated by the government, looked down upon and exploited in silence. It is unfortunate that Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli, instead of articulating the worker's issue, has been sucked into succession and BBI politics as his people are exploited.

Very many workers are exposed to Covid-19 at their work places of since most organisations have not put in place the required protocols. They are either crammed up or with no basic PPE, a matter you would expect Cotu and other worker's unions to pick up.

Instead, Atwoli's goal appears to be who succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta and how to secure his so-called legacy. He appears to have forgotten he is in office to fight for workers not for Uhuru.

Kenyan workers must not remain docile, allowing they to be subjects of exploitation by uncaring government and employers. They have the numbers and strength to bring the government and their employers to their knees. We are too mute when things are not working in our favour, praying for God to intervene. Some issues don't require prayers but action. In fact, he likes of Atwoli have outlived their usefulness to represent workers in modern times. They lack the skills and knowhow to navigate contemporary challenges facing workers.

L Opondi, Nairobi