Archive for September, 2012

The three weeks long teachers strike finally came to an end the other day after the government gave in to the teachers demand and agreed to offer them a whooping 13.5 billion shillings. The strike had brought everything to a stand in all public schools across the country with students having to sit home. Yet again, another industrial action is taking place, this time round with the doctors.
 
One thing to watch out is the manner in which the government is always handling these strikes. Threats to sack striking workers has always been the way forward for the government but in the end the government has always gave in to the workers demands. The teachers strike for example the education minister, Mutula Kilonzo threatened to send all teachers parking if they did not resume work. Failure to which the government would in place employ 10,000 teachers who have completed their training, any retired teacher below 65 years would also be reabsorbed among other measures.
 
This is the same case with how the medical services minister is addressing the doctors’ strike.  The minister said he was sacking the 293 striking registrars and interns. The minister has always gone to the extent of stopping salaries and allowances of all striking doctors.  The doctors are staying out to their demands, dismissing Nyon’gos’ move. The doctors, under the leadership of the Kenyan Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Board secretary General Were Onyino say they are working to shut down health services at all public hospitals.
 
In the meantime, the person who is going is to suffer is the patient, just like the students who stayed home for three weeks.  Already, cases are being reported of patients dying and suffering in public hospitals because there are no doctors to attend to them. Is the government going to sit down and wait for more death cases to be reported and use threats and finally come up with a solution?
 
The government has always been seen playing hardball with striking workers when handling them. A move which has always left poor Kenyans who cannot access private facilities suffer a great deal.
 
Strikes are not foreseen and the government should put in mechanisms to ensure that whenever they occur, they are handled with the urgency they deserve. Treasury should consider setting aside funds during the next budgetary allocations, which can be used to address such emergent issues. The effects industrial actions have always had on the countrys economy have always been devastating. 
 
After the teachers strike the government should work towards addressing the doctors’ grievances without intimidating them. The minister should stop playing hardball with the doctors at the expense of Kenyans health. 
 
Nixon Kanali, Nairobi

Tana River Delta massacre:  Shame on the government

For the past three weeks, Tana River Delta has been on the spot for all the wrong reasons. More than fifty people have lost their lives, with villages being burnt down. Yesterday alone, about 38 people we massacred with around 167 houses being burnt down. This revenge attacks from the two communities came just weeks after the more than fifty deaths. This morning repots are also emerging of three people being killed in other fresh attacks.

What is worrying is the casual manner in which the government, particularly the president, the prime minister and the internal security minister and the police commissioner are treating this matter.  When, the attacks were first reported in the area, the government was so reluctant to act.  Even, so our national intelligence service could have been the first organ of the government to report that something was in the offing.

The police commissioner, Mathew Iteere and the internal security acting minister Yusuf Haji planned a visit to the area. The president has already ordered a curfew to be implemented in the area, coming after lives have been lost and houses burnt down.

During the first attack, the same thing happened; the prime minister even went to the extent of visiting the area and condemned the attacks. He promised the residents that the government was going to o all it can to make sure no fatter attacks were experienced. The police commissioner and the acting security minister even called for a press conference and pledged the same. The president on the other hand seemed unmoved by these ugly incidents. Even while at the coast to officiate the opening of the Mombasa show, he could not address the issue and he has been mum until now when everything seems to have gotten out of hand. What followed next was the deployment of security officers in the area which to me were not enough considering the magnitude of these attacks.

The deployed officer also seem to be doing nothing as other revenge attacks are being done under their watch begging the question what their role is in the Tana Delta. Our national intelligence service has also questions to answer to Kenyans and the residents of Tana River. Does it mean it did not have reports of impending attacks or is it that they are sleeping on their job? The coalition government under the leadership of these two principals, the president and the prime minister is leaving behind a bad legacy in terms of security for its people.

The people paying for these attacks are now the Tana River chiefs, whom the government is accusing of failing to controls the situation. The coat PC says these chiefs knew of the attacks and yet they did little if nothing to avert the situation. Already, these chiefs have been arraigned in court and charged and even losing their jobs. The government should stop blaming its incompetence on these chiefs. They cannot work on their own to control such a large area as the Tana River. Moreover, they are not intelligence officers; the government should just take responsibilities for its ineptitude to act.

They say actions speak louder than words and they government should borrow a leave from this saying. Those visits being made by the minster, the police commissioner and even the prime minister and issuing empty statements are not going to help at all.  We are tired of waking up everyday to news of innocent Kenyans dying and being massacred at the Tana and any other area across the country.

The government is now considering using the military to control the situation; one only hopes this is going to finally bring normalcy and peace in the area.

Nixon Kanali, Nairobi