President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said the government was ready to sack doctors who refuse to go back to work and that he was not going to sit and watch Kenyans suffer due to lack of medical services.
Speaking in Lodwar, Turkana on Wednesday, the President said doctors should not continue with their strike, now in its fourth month, and that they should avoid being in conflict with the government. He said he would only reopen negotiations once the doctors are back at work.
“If you don’t go to work you will go home and we will employ other doctors. Kenyans will not continue suffering because you are on strike. Rudi kazi tuongee pesa (go back to work then we will discuss your salary increment),” he warned.
On Tuesday, the President, while attending the fourth Annual Devolution Conference in Naivasha, had accused the doctors of blackmail in seeking for better terms.
The President, who was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, also warned the opposition leaders against talking ill about his government and spreading propaganda. He said it was wrong for the Opposition to accuse him of only being interested in oil in Turkana and not developing the region.
“If you have a meeting with other visitors in the county, don’t think that I don’t get the information,” he said of the Opposition’s visits to the region.
During a recent visit to the county, Opposition leader Raila Odinga accused the Jubilee administration of failing to develop the county saying it was only interested in the oil discovered in the region.
The President said he refused to sign the Bill on revenue share from minerals such as oil because he wanted it to be improved.
He urged Turkana residents and leaders to stop listening to propaganda from “people who are not interested in bringing development to the area”.
President Kenyatta reiterated that his main interest was not just to lead for the sake of it but to transform the lives of the people for the better.
“Those thinking that I am the kind to be threatened should rethink that. A vote is a vote and I will come back to Turkana to seek votes just like any other Kenyan,” said the President.
President Kenyatta asked leaders to respect each other, unite Kenyans and not to allow elections to divide them. The President was in the county to launch a drought mitigation plan to cushion herders from massive losses following the prolonged dry spell.
The plans included the Livestock Offtake Programme being implemented by Kenya Meat Commission and the Livestock Slaughter Destocking, which was launched by the National Drought Management Authority, the European Union and the Kenya Defence Forces. The Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme, which is aimed at protecting pastoralists from adverse effects of drought, was also unveiled.
Mr Ruto said Turkana will be part of the government after the next elections and urged Governor Josephat Nanok to join Senator John Munyes in moving the community to the Jubilee Party in order to form the next administration.
The Deputy President said the Livestock Insurance Programme is the first of its kind in Kenya and 2,500 families in Turkana were beneficiaries.
Also present at the launch were Mr Nanok, deputy governor Peter Lokoel, Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, Mr Munyes and MPs John Lodepe (Turkana Central), James Lomenen (Turkana South), Protus Akuja (Loima), Nicholas Ngikor (Turkana East) and Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North).
The senator said the county had lost many animals as a result of the worsening drought.