Counties in trouble over nurses' pay

Saturday February 23 2019

Despite the nurses ending the boycott and reporting to work, the Controller of Budget insists that Migori, Mombasa, Machakos and Kwale counties must recover the allowances they paid to nurses.

In a letter written to the four counties Saturday, Mrs Agnes Odhiambo said that, should the counties fail to show any evidence of having recovered the monies paid to the nurses, they will not get funds from the National Treasury.


Mrs Odhiambo had earlier written to the counties directing them to comply with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) circular on nurses’ service allowances.

“County governments should not pay any allowances that are not approved by Salaries Remuneration Commission,” the circular says.

The commission earlier said that counties need about Sh3.5billion every year to pay service and uniform allowances, an amount that was not sustainable.


Chairperson Lyn Mengich said the governors and the Treasury had confirmed they did not have money to pay the nurses.

The nurses union urged governors not to victimise nurses. Kenya National Union of Nurses deputy secretary general Mr Maurice Opetu accused Mrs Odhiambo of overstepping her mandate.

“Why is the Controller of Budget arm-twisting the autonomous county governments? They want to show counties how to run their own budgets,” Mr Opetu said.

According to Mr Opetu, the union has received complaints from nurses in Narok that the governor has made an announcement that he will fire all the nurses that went on strike.

“Let them stop creating a hostile environment to the nurses. It’s us who were aggrieved and we have accepted to respect the court and conciliation committee and gone back to work. Let nurses continue providing health services to Kenyans,” he said.

Nurses on Friday bowed to pressure from the national and county governments and called off their countrywide strike, bringing hope to thousands of patients in public hospitals.

Announcing the truce, the Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako directed the nurses to report to work immediately in compliance with a court order suspending the strike for 60 days to allow negotiations.