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KENYA HEALTH CRISIS: KMPDU Secreraty General Dr Ouma Oluga’s First Speech Upon Release From Kamiti Maximum Prison On 15th February, 2017

With the sun setting ushering another African night in dry windy February, a prison shaven unshaken, Dr Ouma Oluga, charismatic secretary general of the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU), stepped out of Kamiti Maximum prison gates in a suit, stripped shirt, no tie & in characteristically infallible mood to find the press waiting.

By the 73rd day of Kenyan doctors strike a lot had come to pass. There was a full blown propaganda war raging on in social media #LipaKamaTender #CBAismorethancash #CBAforKenyans. Lives had been lost. Kenyans had suffered indignity. The government remained obstinate.

Industrial court Judge Hellen Wasilwa, in a judgement that drew wide spread condemnation for partisanship and ignoring the spirit of the law in favor of the letter of the law, had sentenced seven doctor’s union officials #CBA7 to thirty days in prison. Such injustice meted on young professionals of the highest standing for demanding a better work environment. All this in fulfillment of a diversionary contempt of court case filled by the council of governors.

KMPDU officials celebrating with Kenyan doctor's upon release from prison during the 100 day Kenyan doctor's strike. Dr Ouma Oluga is back row second from right

KMPDU officials (back row clad in white t shirts) at Uhuru park upon release from various prisons

Of that 30 day prison sentence, KMPDU officials: Dr. Ouma Oluga, Dr. Samuel Oroko Obegi, Dr. Allan Ochanji, Dr. Titus Ondoro, Dr. Daisy Korir, Dr. Evelynn Chege, Dr. Mwachonda Chibanzi; had served 2 days thanks to an appeal at the court of appeal. Backed by senior counsels and eminent lawyers working pro Bono: Messrs James Orengo, Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and Phillip Murgor, KMPDU officials boxed opposing (council of governors) lawyers to agree to unconditional, immediate release in favor of a return to negotiations.

Dr Ouma Oluga-The Moran

Masaai Morans, warriors, are courage. To be a leader among the brave, you have to slay a lion with nothing but a wooden club and a spear. Here, we celebrate them as they come. As they slay poverty, ignorance, disease. As they lift their voices where it’s easier to be silent. As they risk it all: blood, sweat, tears and life for others not their kin.

MMI-MMC, celebrates 21st Century Morans. Dr Ouma Oluga and the #CBA7 are of this rare extraction. Here is a speech reported to be by KMPDU secretary general, Dr. Ouma Oluga upon his release from Kamiti prison.

I don’t know if the court has gained dignity. It’s been quite an experience. This hasn’t changed OUR resolve and push for what the doctors want. In fact for OUR coming here alone, that should grant liberation to Kenyans and what the doctors wanted. This is the CBA for all Kenyans. Thank you the media for highlighting our coming here and keeping Kenyans updated. Grateful to the prisoners who’ve been my colleagues for the past few days. Not everyone here’s supposed to be here- there are people here who’ve not broken any laws but are here and it’s sad.

To the Justice system: do not put yourself where you can be undermined by being used to cause suffering. There’s no law that’s superior to human life. Human life here means the lives of all Kenyan citizens, especially those that depend on the public healthcare systems.

I have no wealthy background. The conditions here is the life that am used to. The prisoners here are suffering a pain that no one deserves. Not anyone. The first night I slept in the hospital attending to fellow prisoners here. Yesterday I did my first ward round in the hospital here. If I’d remained here I believe I’d have continued to assist in doing the same, because that’s what am trained to do, with conviction.

In prison I was taken care of in a way much better by fellow prisoners than the way the government has ever taken care of me. If you thinking coming here will break the heart and resolve of Dr. Ouma Oluga. As I’ve been here I’ve been thinking about leadership in this country and what we need to do to move forward. There’s been foolishness in this country and I hope we can overcome this to get a solution.

I missed everyone!

Dr Ouma Oluga is the Secretary General of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU). A man of impeccable character and charisma who rose from humble beginnings in Siaya to earn his place among greats like professor Miriam Were as Kenya’s foremost champions of universal health care.

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