By Vihiga Nurses Fraternity
The Kenya National Union of Nurses (KNUN) was established in 2011 and registered in April 19, 2013 as a Trade Union in Kenya under the provisions of the Labour Relations Act No. 14 of 2007 Laws of Kenya.
The sole purpose of this Union was to be a World class union of choice for all nurses working in Kenya.
The union was to establish a democratic platform upon which nurses shall address their grievances by engaging their employers in dialogue in order to improve nurses working conditions.
Knun represents all cadres of nurses in Kenya drawn from practice setting, education and research institutions.
All was well until 2017 when the term of the founding officials expired but used dubious means to remain in power.
For the first time in February 2021, the union will held its first ‘democratic’ elections with Halima Adan Yusuf, the current Director of Nursing Services in Machakos County being main the challenger to the outgoing Secretary General Seth Panyako.
Enough said, Panyako and Ms. Halima will sought their issues if they want but back at home in Vihiga County hell has broken loose.
The current crop of leaders led Caleb Wamalwa Maloba (Vihiga Branch Secretary – Knun) and Zadock Miheso (Chairperson) are a disgrace to the nurses fraternity.
The moment they accepted to be appointed in managerial positions by the County Government of Vihiga is when they lost relevance. By accepting such appointments, it meant they will always play to the gallery to please their masters at the expense of the nurses they lead.
As Robert Greene puts it in his book ‘ 48 Laws of Power’ rule no. 44 ‘ Despise The Free Lunch because what is offered for free is dangerous — it usually involves a trick or a hidden obligation. What has worth is worth paying for. By paying your own way you stay clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit. It is also often wise to pay the full price — there is no cutting corners with excellence. Be lavish with your money and keep it circulating, for generosity is a sign and a magnet for power. This is the exact trap the union officials found themselves in.
According to the Labour Laws, you cannot be a union leader and at the same time holding a managerial position in an organisation where you represent workers. That’s is conflict of interest.
If Maloba and Miheso are to contest in the forthcoming elections, they ought to have resigned the current managerial positions six months to the elections and that has not been done. Anyway, that’s an issue they will agree themselves with the nurses they represent before the elections day.
In his book ‘Robert Greene continues: “In the realm of power, everything must be judged by its cost, for everything has a price. What is offered for free or at a bargain often comes with a psychological price tag — complicated feelings of obligation, compromises with quality, the insecurity these comprises bring etc. The powerful learn early to protect their most valuable resource: independence and room to maneuver. Being open and flexible also teaches the value of strategic generosity.
Knun Vihiga Chapter is led by lame duck leaders who have failed completely to address the grievances of nurses.
Let’s take stock of healthcare workers who were employed in May 2019, upon recruitment and posting to their respective stations, the County Public Service Board (CPSB) nullified their appointments on grounds that the process was marred by irregularities.
They got a reprieve and were reinstated by the court. Since then, they only received a four month salary and to date-they have stayed for 13 months without pay. What has union led by Maloba and Miheso done to salvage the situation?
The two leaders have been playing to the gallery all along and singing songs of praises when it comes to nurses promotions but nothing tangible has been achieved so far. Look at the recent strike that was in effect between Nov 4th – Nov 13th 2020 and nothing was achieved. A meeting between them (Knun) and County officials yield nothing save for empty promises and rhetoric as usual.
The letter calling off the strike after an ‘agreement was reached was signed except for Dr Arnold Mmamadi which means, it is not legally binding and does not hold water in case the cease fire agreement is challenged in court.
How come the union officials have never followed up the issue of nurses promotions even after CPA Livingstone Imbayi in his letter dated August 19, 2020 that there was Sh10million set aside in the 2020-2021 financial year for staff promotions in the health sector? Who is fooling who?
Frontline healthcare workers in the fight against Covid19 has been a thorn in the flesh of medics. Nurses claim the PPEs are of low quality or in some instances, they are not there and then you wonder what the role of Knun in Vihiga County?
Let’s bite the bullet and tell the truth as that’s is what will vindicate us.