Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe risks a six-month jail term for disobeying court orders barring him from allowing the military to take over Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
In a certificate of urgency filed in court, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) wants CS Kagwe committed to jail together with Chairperson of KEMSA board Mary Mwadime, and acting Chief Executive Officer John Kiumi Kabuchi for failure to honour orders issued last in November 2021.
Through their lawyer Henry Kurauka, KMPDU accuses the CS and KEMSA's top officials of continuing to fail to obey the orders suspending the termination of the doctor's employment without following due process and allowing Kenya Defence Forces and National Youth Service from taking over the institution's activities.
The doctors say that on November 8, 2021, judge Ocharo Kebira granted conservatory orders restricting KEMSA, CS Kagwe, Attorney General and Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour and Social Protection from declaring redundant or terminating the services of KMPDU’s staff and replacing them.
“The said government officials ought to be cited and committed to jail for contempt of court orders issued on November 8, 2021, by judge Kebira and extended by lady justice Maureen Onyango until February 24, 2022, awaiting judgement,” Kurauka added.
Kurauka further said that those orders were extended till February 24, 2022, when a judgement will be delivered, adding that KEMSA and the said ministries were restrained from replacing those staff with the people from Kenya Defense Forces and National Youth Service (NYS).
He added that every person or state organ is obligated to obey court orders and respect them and that the court should punish those who are disobeying court orders.
The lawyer added that some of the KMPDU members have been sent home for 45 days and that they have been told that they will receive calls which he says is against staff rules and regulations.
The doctors association says that the Health Ministry has enlisted the services of NYS and KDF to take over and manage the operations of KEMSA contrary to the constitution and the law.