The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU) officials were on Thursday sentenced to a one-month suspended jail term after they were found guilty of contempt of court.
Judge Hellen Wasilwa, however, gave the officials a two-week ultimatum to conclude negotiations with the government and call off the strike failure to which they will be arrested and jailed.
“What it means is that for today, I sentence you for one month in jail, suspended sentence which will fall down, the sentence is hanging over your heads. It will fall down on your heads within two weeks if the strike is still on,” Judge Wasilwa ruled.
In her ruling, Judge Hellen Wasilwa said that the Union officials are weak in leadership and are unable to make decisions to suspend the doctors’ strike after they adamantly refused to present their issues before the court.
Union officials led by their Secretary General Ouma Oluga told the court that the officials had no powers to call off the strike as had been ordered without the consent of union members.
“Punishing us will not address the issues in the CBA,” said the officials.
The judge also dismissed claims by the union officials that the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was signed by the government. She made it clear that the CBA is null and void because it was not registered in court as required by law.
She further directed the officials to return back to court on January 26th for further direction.