Kitui governor Charity Ngilu was ordered to appear in court for failing to pay 19 doctors’ salaries for four months.
Ms Ngilu and the county civil service board were ordered to appear before Judge Monicah Mbaru to explain why they defied instructions to pay doctors their dues by October 5, 2021.
Judge Mbaru ordered the governor to appear in person in court on October 14, 2021 for punishment.
The judge previously ordered the governor to appear in court on October 7, 2021 to confirm that she had paid the doctors.
“The 19 doctors have not received their salaries since July 1, 2021,” said lawyer Henry Kurauka, who represents the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU).
The KMPDU went to court to obtain payment of the unpaid salaries of the injured doctors.
In the petition, the union says the doctors have not received their salaries since July 2021.
“The respondents ‘failure to pay doctors’ salaries in July 2021 constitutes a violation of labor rights in accordance with Article 17 of the Employment Law and Article 41 of the Constitution,” said Mr. Kurauka to Judge Mbaru.
The judge was informed that the doctors concerned had been allowed to pursue two-year higher education studies at full pay.
However, the doctors were abruptly recalled from Ukraine, Tanzania and America where they had gone to continue their studies.
The respondents then began disciplinary proceedings against the doctors on August 5, 2021.
Therefore, KMPDU seized the court to stop the disciplinary proceedings, calling them malicious and insensitive.
KMPDU states that the Respondents violated Section 4.2 of the Discipline Manual for the Public Service by withholding physicians’ salaries during the disciplinary process.
The manual states that a public official is entitled to half of his basic salary, full housing allowance and medical insurance coverage during disciplinary proceedings.
In the lawsuit, KMPDU seeks an injunction to prevent the Kitui County government from stopping the payment of salaries or firing the doctors.
The union is also asking for the payment of damages equivalent to 12 months’ salary to all injured doctors.
The county government and its various committees had authorized doctors to take specialist courses abroad to improve public health in Kitui.