Ruto takes a dig at Raila over doctors’ woes jibes

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto consoles the family of the late Lt-Gen (Rtd) John Koech, during the funeral service at Ainamoi in Kericho. Photo/DPPS/JONAH MWANGI

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday took a dig at Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga over his comments about the threat by doctors to go on strike if their grievances are not addressed.

 Ruto said grievances by doctors, nurses, clinical officers and nurses should be dealt with immediately to allow them concentrate on the battle against coronavirus.

 The Deputy President stated that Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and political matters should take a backseat to give priority to health matters. 

“We have directed the Ministry of Health to meet, sit and negotiate immediately with health workers with a view to ending the stalemate,” Ruto stated.

“We are telling them to meet health workers first for them to resume duty and discuss the issue of money later after agreeing to down tools,” he added.

Ruto spoke at the Kericho Golf Club during the funeral service of former Army Commander, Lt-Gen (Rtd) John Koech, who died last month. He was accorded a military burial.

The Deputy President eulogised the late Koech as a firm man and a person of principles who meant what he said.

He said the General was a straightforward person always ready to assist the poor.  Koech was the former United Democratic Movement party chairman. 

On the doctors issues, Ruto said:  “It is reckless and irresponsible for some leaders to say that we first deal with BBI and political issues then get money for Covid-19.” 

He appeared to allude to Monday’s comments by the former Prime Minister, who was quoted in the media telling health workers that they should understand that there was an economic crisis and that ‘they are not the only people dying’  of Covid-19.

 He said other Kenyans were dying too.

 According to Raila, the medics should be considerate and prioritise and direct all the energy to the fight against Covid-19.

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong has also come under heavy criticism over comments that the medics should first wait for the government to roll out the BBI campaign.   

Ruto said the government has directed Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) to release the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) from its warehouse to the health workers.

“We have directed Kemsa to release PPEs to health workers as they are the frontline soldiers in the fight against the scourge to use as they treat coronavirus victims as investigations are on-going over the alleged underhand deals,”  Ruto added. 

  Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, his deputy Susan Kikwai, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), MPS, Sylvanus Maritim (Ainamoi), Nelson Koech ( Belgut) and Johanna Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr) attended the funeral.  

 On his part, Murkomen asked Raila to fight to ensure issues affecting health workers are addressed in totality instead of pushing political issues such as BBI. 

 “We have heard Raila telling doctors to wait. It is unfortunate for him to utter such remarks because the concerns of health workers should come first so that the war against the invisible enemy is won,” the senator said. 

 He said the Sh14billion for BBI report and other Sh10billion for referendum should be channeled too deal with Covid-19 pandemic. 

 “ If leaders are serious about issues touching on Kenyans, especially on health matters, political matters and BBI should wait,” Murkomen said. 

 Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat was booed and jeered by a section of mourners when he said he was sent by Raila to thank Kericho residents for appending signatures to the BBI report. 

Mourners told Salat that there was no signature collection in the county.

 Salat brought messages of condolences from Raila and Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

 Former Kenya Defence Forces commanders attended the funeral ceremony. 

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