Deputy President William Ruto has described remarks by ODM leader Raila Odinga on the ongoing strike by healthcare workers as insensitive.
Dr Ruto, who spoke in Kericho County, said it was irresponsible of Mr Odinga to seek to push issues affecting the health sector to the periphery in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is reckless for anyone to say that political matters, including the proposed constitutional reforms, are dealt with ahead of the issues raised by health workers yet we are in the middle of a pandemic,” said Dr Ruto.
On Monday in Kisumu, Mr Odinga asked the striking health workers to reconsider their demands and put them on hold until the constitutional review process is finalised and Covid-19 curve flattened, saying, the country is faced with an economic crisis.
“Our focus should be on equipping health workers with PPEs and paying them salaries and allowances. County governments should prioritise and deal with the issues raised by doctors, nurses, clinical officers and other medics who are in the front line fighting Covid-19,” said Dr Ruto.
The DP spoke at the burial of former Vice General Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General (rtd) John Koech. In his message, President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “General Koech was a patriotic, professional, diligent military officer who served the country with dedication and my thoughts and prayers goes out to the family.”
The Chief of General Staff, General Robert Kibochi, in a tribute read by Deputy Army Commander Major General Albert Kendagor, said the departed was a diligent and firm officer. Dr Ruto said the national government had directed the health ministry to work with the unions to address the crisis.
He said the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) which had been detained by detectives in an ongoing investigation over alleged procurement anomalies would immediately be released to health workers.
“If our health system was working properly, it is possible General Koech would have been saved and he would still be with us. We should prioritise health issues as leaders,” said Dr Ruto.