Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary-General Seth Panyako on Wednesday vowed that the nurses would stand firm in their strike during a presser held at Henesis Hotel, Ngara, Nairobi.
The KNUN officials were adamant in their declaration indicating that their mandate was drawn from the union members and that their directive is thus derived from the same.
Secretary Panyako went on to reaffirm the identity of the counties in which strikes are set to commence on February 19, 2019, which is four days after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decree that nurses should resume work.
The counties are: Murang’a, Tana River, Nakuru Siaya, Kakamega, Narok, Makueni Bomet and Busia, with Uasin Gishu set to join in on February 20.
When quizzed on his response to the presidential order, Panyako asserted that he was under the mandate of his employers (the counties) and thus did not find it in order to respond to the Office of the President.
“I cannot respond to him due to very important reasons, one being respect for the Office of the President,” he responded.
He went on to clarify that the various branch officials are the only ones who will give the directive in regards to whether the strike will be called off or not.
The Secretary declared that if the branch officials cited the President’s order as a reason to call off the strike, he would oblige.
However, he clarified that the strike was still on and that he was answerable to the County Public Service Boards.
“I have no answer for the president, I will only have answers to the employers, the County Public Service Boards,” he asserted.
When pressed on whether the union was afraid that their members would be fired upon refusal to obey the executive order, he cited the rule of law as the union’s defender.
“This union is not incompetent, we are able and capable to defend our members unless you are telling us that Kenya has become a banana republic,” Panyako disclosed.
The Secretary also declared that he was ready to be arrested if the State felt that he had broken any law in his role as representative of the nurses.
During the address, he made it clear that they had only received one court order to suspend the strike in Kitui county, and they duly obliged.
The union official went on to make it clear that they would update the public of any directives from the County Public Service Boards regarding the strike.