The politics behind doctors strike


By Kenya Confidential Medical Services Editor, Nairobi – February 24, 2017

The striking doctors have been obstinate that they will accept nothing short of full implementation of the fraudulent CPA. They are blinded by naked financial greed as to bear no remorse over their patients dying in public hospitals

Kenya Confidential in a series of articles throws some light on Kenya’s longest strike by life-saving professionals turned greedy inhuman agents of death under Machiavellian Leadership. See 8 Characteristics of a Machiavellian Leader You might work for one. You might be one yourself. You might not typically operate this way, but every once in a while you find yourself slipping into what almost feels to you like an alter-ego.

The politics of the Doctors strike begins with a White on Black background circular by a Dr Kigundu Simon, who describes himself as a Health Social Thinker and Obstetrician Gynaecologist, on Sunday December 4, 2016. The circular purported to be “Public education” describes the now disgraced Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as a legally signed CBA between KMPDU and MOH Kenya in 2013.

The Ministry of Health signatory of the CBA a former Permanent Secretary Mark Bor has confessed before a Parliamentary heal committee that he had been sacked by the time he put into to paper three days afterwards. He has been described as an impostor and the CBA described as illegal. The striking doctors have been obstinate that they will accept nothing short of full implementation of the fraudulent CPA. They are blinded by naked financial greed as to bear no remorse over their patients dying in public hospitals.

The circular below gives the first glimpse of what is emerging as a clearly high handed political manipulation with a hollow exposition of how health services were disrupted abruptly in 2013 by the entry of Jubilee Government after major strides during the nusu-mkate government 2008-2013 when Raila Amolo Odinga was Prime Minister. His Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) secretary general Anyang’ Nyong’o was a health services minister.

Indeed, the circular observes that “medical workers campaigned for the New Constitution knowing that their Health Service Commission was intact”, meaning they want to achieve was the Constitution and Parliament have not set up created by the current strike as laid out in the CBA. Today the Health Cabinet Secretary Cleophas Mailu challenged the doctors to be truthful to Kenyans and to stop lying about the CBA.

What Mailu does not know is that lies are one of the opposition politics election campaign strategy. Kenyans will hear more of lies about anything and everything. The opposition have added another ingredient to election strategy by way of strikes. The doctors’ strike is part of a well-orchestrated election campaign that is intended to run up to August to generate maximum disaffection to the ruling Jubilee coalition. The university lecturers’ strike is the second on the line among several others to be instigated.

Kenyan Doctors’ Industrial Action 2016

Why Kenyan Doctors are Forced to Strike!

#Lipakamatender #CBA  #Lipakamatender #CBA

How Kenyan Doctors got here

Sunday December 4th 2016

Public Education

The nationwide doctors’ industrial action to commence at 0000 hrs Monday 5th December is the culmination of politicians playing with the health of Kenyans. As a result doctors are left with no choice but to result in industrial action which seems to be the only thing the government listens to. The hashtag is #Lipakamatender. The contention is failure of implementation of a legally signed CBA between KMPDU and MOH Kenya in 2013.

History of mismanagement of the health docket

Between 2007 and 2013 under the auspices of “reversing the trends” policy the health system underwent significant improvements. This came about because the health system did an introspection of itself, identified the root cause of problems that bedeviled the health system, put them down on paper and chatted a way to reverse the very poor trends in health that had plagued the system since independence. The health performance contracts were used as improvement tools.

The DMSOs then were in charge of ensuring that the several hospitals under their supervision made continuous improvements on the line items of the performance contracts. Quarterly meetings presided over by PDMSs led to accountability. Afya house teams also had regular supervisory visits with the PDMSs. Management of health facilities improved dramatically. The health performance contracts are present in the individual hospitals and in the ministry of health.

As a result of this doctor-led improvements hospital managements improved so much that the revenues from FIF (Facility Improvement Fees) in the individual hospitals increased three to four fold in most hospitals. The hospitals were better managed, attracted more clients and revenue continued going up

Parallel constitutional process

At about the same time the constitutional process was ongoing. Guided by the policies that were in place at the time the medics pushed for two items i.e. a Health Service Commission to manage the scarce resource (medical personnel) and patient rights that would have included among other items strengthening further the hospitals with equipment.

In the health workers minds health devolution was very clear – Primary health was to be managed by governors (promotion and prevention) while Curative health (medical facilities) were to be managed by central government with all health workers managed by the health service commission. The referral system was working well and would be strengthened.

The stage was set and medical workers campaigned for the New Constitution knowing that their health service commission was intact.

Health CS Mailu implored doctors to be truthful to Kenyans if not their call of duty

Political constitutional games played on health

The drama then unfolded.

  1. The health service commission was sneaked out between Naivasha (Committee of Experts) and parliament. This was very deliberate. A “hidden force” is thought to be behind this. But a 5-year lifeline was put on it. It was stated in the Hansard of parliament that it could be activated by an act of parliament. During the various health problems in the counties members of parliament have tried to form some kind of HSC within the health bill but nothing has come of it so far.
  2. A new constitution was passed in 2010 with the possibility of a HSC being created by an act of parliament. Luckily for health workers the constitution guaranteed the right to form a union. KMPDU was formed. A few industrial actions down the line only one yielded some fruitful improvements in the welfare of doctors. But to avoid future unnecessary industrial unrests by drs KMPDU and Ministry of Health signed a CBA.
  3. The first notice in February 2013 that devolved health (notably before president Kibaki left office) was correct. It devolved primary health. Curative health was retained at national level. Afya house in the meantime had developed a fantastic master plan for health.

It had 2 components 1. Health worker management and improvement prior to and hand in hand with. 2. Managed Equipment Scheme (MES).. keep this in mind as you read on.

Halth workers were to be recruited, trained and deployed all over the country and remunerated well to make use of the medical equipment that was to be bought. This plan was as a result of the Musyimi Task Force report that was done during earlier industrial actions. The basis of this is that health equipment cannot use itself. It needs health workers.

  1. March 2013 the general elections were done and the Jubilee government were charged with midwifing the new government structure. A non-medic is appointed cabinet secretary of health (I think this should never happen again).
  2. Governors in their hunt for sources of income noted that hospitals were one of the few institutions within counties that had cash income in the form of FIF and the amounts were substantial. They thus wanted in on the gravy train. They directed their guns on the executive and accused them of being anti-devolution. The executive not wanting to look “anti-devolution” asked TA to devolve health illegally. They also did not mind throwing governors under the bus because managing health workers is difficult.

What the governors forgot is that the wage bill of health workers does not come from FIF and of course they have continuously fallen short in paying health workers. Governors wanted to have their cake and eat it. The reality was different with the various health worker strikes. Governors though were also short changed by Afya house.

Afya house retained the Medical Equipment Scheme portion (a procurement issue). Procurement is usually wrongly looked at as “income” by those handling it. Afya house acquired the medical equipment and pushed down the cost to the governors.

  1. Transitional Authority unconstitutionally devolved curative health in August 2013 without withdrawing the correct notice of February 2013. This was done with no Health Act in place – total negligence.
  2. KMPDU went to court in November 2013 and their case was thrown out
  3. In 2014 health workers joined the case against unconstitutional devolution of health by Okiya Omutatah. Dr Kigondu participated in this case by giving the affidavit of what the spirit of health devolution was.

Justice Lenaola declined to defined what national referral hospitals meant but said there was a process ongoing in parliament to streamline the health system. This was taken to mean that health is fully devolved but it did not mean that. If health workers appealed this case they would have won and the mess we are in would not have happened.

  1. The Health Bill in the meantime was doing its rounds in parliament with multiple mutilations by various interested groups. Everyone is trying to put his hand in the cookie jar. There is no health act as of yet.
  2. Salaries and Remuneration Commission has been used by the government in an attempt to hoodwink health workers. It does not hold the key to management of doctors. It is the body used to delay all major decisions that have to be made on doctors health. It is the excuse used to avoid having a health service commission. Yet it’s role is on state officers and advisory on all others. The judiciary always twists the law to try to say that SRC proclamations are binding. They are not.

  1. The counties have continued to mistreat doctors. We have doctors who have been rejected for not being of that tribe. We have doctors who have not been absorbed yet there is need. We have doctors whose statutory deductions have never reached their destinations. Without laid down rules of how to manage doctors in this gubernatorial period without health laws the governors will kill health slowly. To protect the doctors a CBA signed by MOH Kenya must be implemented

In summary doctors are victims of a botched purported devolution of health. Doctors have in the past gone on strike to ask for equipment for hospitals for the benefit of the general public. Doctors have had input into the health bill that keeps being mutilated by too many interested parties not looking at the interest of the profession.

Doctors are tired of being manipulated by politicians. Why is it so hard for the government to implement a legally signed document yet it is so easy for them to throw doctors under a governors’ bus unconstitutionally so easily? Why must the welfare of doctors be sacrificed under the alter (sic) of political show offs. Doctors are tired. The collective fatigue of a misused profession has come together and this time round the government better listen. Otherwise the government of the people will act.

Ministry of Health of Kenya you will bear the responsibility for not implementing the #CBA. Let all doctors meet on Monday 5th December 2016 at Public Service Club for #Lipakamatender Day 1. Punda amechoka!

Dr Kigondu Simon

Health Social Thinker and Obstetrician Gynaecologist

machiavellian leadership

Just in case you haven’t checked the 8 attributes of Machiavellian leaders save your time and read on…

You might work for one. You might be one yourself. You might not typically operate this way, but every once in a while you find yourself slipping into what almost feels to you like an alter-ego.

When things are going well, it’s all photo-op smiles, hearty handshakes, You saw that in television clips shot around Milimani Court, Afya House and Railway Club grounds.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Machiavellianism is “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or general conduct,” it of course getting its derivation from the Italian diplomat, writer and philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli. In modern psychological parlance, it refers to a duplicitous interpersonal style coupled with a pragmatic and narcissistic moral framework.

Some have incorrectly assumed that given their ability to manipulate the crap out of just about anybody, Machiavellian leaders have a relatively high level of intelligence. In fact, many Machiavellian leaders themselves believe this. Not only does research show this isn’t the case at all in regards to IQ, it also shows that folks with more Machiavellian tendencies seem to have lower levels of EQ (emotional intelligence) as well.

Short version of the above: These guys aren’t as smart as they think they are, and probably aren’t as smart as you think they are. Also, they may (read: probably do) stink at certain people skills.

Sounds like some managers or executives we all know and see every day, right? Maybe even in the mirror? Here are some of the tell-tale signs, in no particular order, that a leader might have a little more Machiavelli in him or her than he or she would like…

1. Machiavellian leaders are duplicitous. 

We can go straight Webster’s here. Duplicity is a contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially, the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action. Sound familiar? KMPDU officials trade mark.

2. Machiavellian leaders are cunning.

These leaders are crafty. They’re artists and their finished masterpiece is the result of the crafty use of wiliness and trickery. Indeed, the KMPDU insistence on a fraudulent, unregistered document signed by an impostor speaks volumes of its officials trickery to members and Kenyans.

3. Machiavellian leaders are narcissistic.

They have excessive and exaggerated feelings of self-importance, though these feelings often masquerade as something more noble. Don’t be fooled. Self-interest is the most often and valid impetus of most conscious action for the narcissist.

4. Machiavellian leaders believe the ends justify the means.

Scary. Even when patients die the “Life-Savers” of Kenya have no remorse.

5. Machiavellian leaders believe everything’s part of one big game they’re playing.

The workplace, their careers, all the way down to every interaction, is all part of the game for Machiavellian leaders. It’s all part of the master plan to either gain or maintain power or influence. Indeed, politics with human lives!

6. Machiavellian leaders excel in control and manipulation.

They know just the buttons to push and have no problems pushing them. You’re not doing what they want? Don’t worry. You will be soon, and you won’t even know how it happened. Or you will, and you’ll feel like a little bit of your soul died on the inside. Before long, you realize that your skills, abilities, and so on are really just there for…well…them. The KMPDU military precision control of demonstrators and speakers is Nobel Prize winning. Control and manipulation are two tactics of Machiavellian #leadership.

7. Machiavellian leaders would love to be loved, but not at the expense of not being feared…er…”respected.”

You’ve seen The Godfather, right? KMPDU officials are typical examples #KMPDU7.

8. Machiavellian leaders don’t usually reveal the entire and/or real reason they’re doing something unless it’s somehow advantageous to them.

You always feel like you’re missing part of the picture. And you usually are. The doctors CBA illegality is a good example.

The Politics in Doctors Strike Part 2 will explore the missing links between the doctors and Machiavellian political manipulation.

Machiavelli, the military systems thinker, had elaborate prescriptions for successful government. Good government rests upon the foundation of a strong military establishment for protection against the external enemy. The life, property, family, and honour of each citizen must be safeguarded against interference from other citizens.

General economic prosperity should be encouraged, individual economic aggrandizement prevented, and luxury strictly regulated. Adequate recognition must be given to the meritorious among the citizens, and advancement in the service of the state should be open to those who seek honour and glory. The best government draws upon and utilizes the skills of the governed, and the best state is one in which rank corresponds to ability.