NHIF: This farce must not go on for too long
Posted Thursday, May 3 2012 at 18:30
The tit-for-tat sacking at the National Hospital Insurance Fund bring to the fore, again, the grey legal regime governing appointments and oversight of statutory bodies.
A serious national issue is at play over the implementation of the national medical insurance cover.
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions has issued a strike notice demanding that rollout of the scheme be suspended.
A parliamentary committee has raised serious questions over suspect advance payments to two private medical clinics contracted by the NHIF.
In the midst of such weighty issues, matters have degenerated into a farce.
On Thursday, the NHIF chairman announced the suspension of the chief executive and other senior managers.
The ink had hardly dried on the purported suspensions, before the Minister for Medical Services rescinded the action and instead sacked the chairman.
The chairman, in turn, dismissed with contempt the purported sacking by the minister, saying he was a presidential appointee, and could only be removed from office by the President.
In the meantime, the reinstated chief executive called in police to eject his chairman from an office he uses at the NHIF headquarters.
The chairman and the chief executive also treated the public to unbecoming and intemperate exchanges in full glare of television camera.
These sideshows and ego trips will serve only to divert attention from the real issue.
Decisions must be made on whether the medical scheme should proceed under the present design, or whether implementation should be delayed pending a review.
Meanwhile, guidelines must be provided on who wields the power to hire and fire in statutory bodies.