Medics, GSU clash at Thika roadblock over movement

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 00:00 |
Deputy GSU commandant Bashane Omar addresses health workers at Blue Post Hotel roadblock in Thika, yesterday. PD/Mathew Ndung’u

Police officers were yesterday forced to lob teargas canisters to disperse travellers at the Blue Post Hotel roadblock in Thika, Kiambu county.

The GSU officers also splashed acidic water on more than 100 medical professionals and food distributors, among other travellers, who President Uhuru Kenyatta listed as essential service providers.

Doctors who live in Murang’a county but work in Kiambu county and their counterparts who live along Thika Road but work in Murang’a were all caught up in the morning confusion that led to a traffic snarl-up.

Patients were neither spared in the confusion that left many raising questions over the manner in which the authorities were enforcing the order on extended cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi area.

In a stiffer bid to regulate movement of persons, the officers were not taking chances and only allowed persons with all the requisite documents and an addition police stamp to pass.

Bernard Matimu, a kidney failure patient who was headed for dialysis at Kenol Hospital was forced to turn back after the authorities declared him a non-essential service provider.

Holding his medical documents, Matimu who goes for two dialysis twice every week (Monday and Thursday) said various Thika-based hospitals failed to admit him claiming to have no extra beds.

Repulse vehicles

“The officers should consider verifying the sincerity of a case. They never even verified my documents.

I don’t know how my ailment will fare now that I will be forced to abscond my routine dialysis,” he said.

Central region Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) chair James Githinji accused the security forces of creating unnecessary enmity between police and health workers.

“We are all fighting one enemy who we cannot see and it is regrettable police are fighting co-workers in the fight,” he said.

After being stuck for hours, GSU deputy commandant Bashane Omar intervened and allowed the travellers to continue with their journeys.

“To avoid recurrence of this issue, make a list of all the health workers operating from the affected areas, ensure that they have their job identity cards indicating where they work,” he said.

Speaking in a local radio station on Monday morning, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho maintained that the roadblocks will continue to stop and repulse personal vehicles without obligatory movement documents.

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