Ethical dilemmas that deny Kenyan tenderpreneurs sleep

Friday February 24 2017

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu (right, in spectacles) addresses people who had been demonstrating outside Afya House, the ministry's headquarters, in Nairobi on February 24, 2017. They had been protesting what they termed as deplorable conditions in health facilities and failure of services in public hospitals as the doctors’ strike went on. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu (right, in spectacles) addresses people who had been demonstrating outside Afya House, the ministry's headquarters, in Nairobi on February 24, 2017. They had been protesting what they termed as deplorable conditions in health facilities and failure of services in public hospitals as the doctors’ strike went on. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KWAMCHETSI MAKOKHA
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Entrepreneurs have every right to take umbrage at doctors for the offensive strike hashtag #LipaKamaTender, which continues to fuel medical indifference into day 83 today.

The hashtag, which loosely translates into a demand to pay doctors in the same coin as the hardworking people who win tenders, insults the genius of enterprise and devalue it to the same level as labour.

Facetious doctors’ union officials have been trying to create a false equivalence between injecting people’s backsides and building things that last a lifetime, all the time striving to make the latter seem as easy as a thoughtless pastime.

Truth be told, doctors do not wish to be paid like a tender winner, where their money would be subject to delays, demands for kickbacks, and released on the strength of telephone calls from senators and members of the National Assembly, or to lug gunny sacks of banknotes around like daylight robbers. Coolly gazing on from behind their dark glasses, worn on occasion to visit Integrity Centre for the hours-long conversation with anti-graft people, tenderpreneurs remain unflappable in the face of the most aggressive provocations. The world of tenders is beset by numerous unspoken caprices: investors can go unpaid for years; they are unsure if they will ever be paid; and must release numerous commissions for their money to reach their accounts. Still, tenderpreneurs bear this official abuse with stoicism because – unlike doctors – they have ethics and manners.

CONSTANTLY WRACKED

Ms Things of Desire and its associates are constantly wracked by moral crisis each night wondering whether or not there will be mass starvation among recruits at the National Youth Service ollege if they do not supply rice and green grams.

Driven by urgent compassion, other entrepreneurs worry about how to supply enough sanitary towels and mattresses to soak up the floods during El Nino rains, and soap to wash away the pain. Yet others work day and night to ensure the Ministry of Health has enough mobile clinics so that expectant mothers can give birth anywhere, any time, while on the move.

No entrepreneur worth his salt would lack sensibility and morality to the point of allowing vulnerable, anguished and innocent people to die alone, unloved and uncomforted by a medical hand, their death certificates signed by mere clerical officers without any medical training. Doctors’ refusal to supervise death and certify it in an election year, therefore, has deep political undertones, especially when questions are raised about dead voters.

ARE DYING

When doctors are out there serving time in prison, people are dying. When they are out on the streets making speeches, people are dying. When doctors out there are busy taking a cigarette break or visiting their families, Kenyans are dying. Their consciences are never pricked. They just want to reduce their working hours, have more people helping them work, and more money spent on buying fancy medical toys they call equipment.

Tenderpreneurs, on the other hand, have refused to go to prison, knowing that their services in the free world are much more needed. Doctors are only proof that their parents succeeded in ramming a square peg into a round hole. Scoring straight As is known to mean that you will work for the C students, and it is anathema for one to earn more than the boss.

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, has said that A students – such as doctors – end up working for C students like hospital investors and drug sales folk. That is just the way life is. There is no need for bitterness or petty jealousies. Everybody should stick to his or her lane. At the end of the day, doctors really do not want to be on strike, but they are under the bewitching spell of their officials not to work.

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