Judge orders Kenyan doctors' union officials jailed over strike

This is just as the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists' Union had previously warned that doctors in private hospitals might also strike if union officials were jailed.

They said this will be in protest against the imprisonment of doctors' union officials following the latter's incarceration for contempt of court. Leading national newspapers have painted the doctors as unreasonable, exaggerating doctors' demands with erroneous information about what the agreement would entail. She had camped out for two days next to her frail father, who was sleeping on a worn-out mattress in a corridor as she tried to gather money for an operation on his ruptured bladder.

A Kenyan court on Monday jailed seven union officials for a month over a doctors strike that has crippled public hospitals for 10 weeks.

The agreement was also meant to boost Kenya's public health system, with funds for medical research and doctor training to improve skills.

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Political analyst Brian Wanyama said that the strike is being seen as a test for President Uhuru Kenyatta's leadership and his Jubilee Party ahead of August elections.

In January, Justice Hellen Wasilwa sentenced leaders to jail for ignoring her earlier ruling, but suspended the sentence to allow time for talks.

Jailing them for contempt of court, the judge said they had provided no reason for the punishment to be deferred.

A series of corruption scandals, including an investigation into millions of dollars allegedly missing from the Health Ministry, has bolstered support for the doctors, even though Kenyan media has reported that patients have died during the strike. "It is a minus for Jubilee and a fodder under which the opposition under Odinga would want to use to bring down the Jubilee government".

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However, the government maintains it can only afford 40 percent.

The doctors are demanding implementation of a deal reached in 2013 that would enact a 150-180 percent pay rise.

"The doctors have expressed their aspirations".

The doctors' union rejected both offers and urged the government to pay the full salary increases promised three years ago. The Senate Committee said the crisis would not be resolved unless the doctors left jail.

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On Monday, she "resumed the order" and said the union officials should be arrested.


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