ODM leader Raila Odinga’s plea to doctors not to down their tools at a time when are dying of COVID-19 has angered Kenyans.
Speaking in Kisumu on Monday, the former prime minister appealed to health workers’ officials to be more understanding and shelve their strike plans, bearing in mind that the country is in a crisis.
But perhaps it was his choice of words that has landed Raila in the crosshairs with a section of Kenyans.
‘It is not only doctors who are dying, ordinary Kenyans are also dying of this COVID-19. We are also in a die-hard situation as far as the economy is concerned. This is not the time to hold the government to ransom,” said Raila, who is also the African Union Special Envoy for Infrastructure.
Raila added: “The doctors themselves took an oath to protect life, how then do you justify downing your tools when people are dying?”
Kenyans, however, sided with healthcare workers in their plans to go on strike if the government does not fulfill their demands. They feel that political leaders have no moral authority to lecture doctors when they have misplaced their priorities at a time when the country is facing a pandemic.
“Do you know that an estimated 1500 young doctors remain unemployed since graduating? And do you know the Sh14b Raila Odinga is prepared to spend [on referendum] can employ and pay these doctors for 5 yrs? Thought you should know,” renown economist David Ndii opined.
Activist Boniface Mwangi said: “When Raila Odinga was sick, he flew in a private jet to a German hospital in Dubai. He like many other politicians enjoy the best private healthcare both locally and abroad. For Raila and his fellow politicians, BBI is more important than the lives of poor Kenyans!”
So far, COVID-19 has robbed Kenya of 13 doctors while at least 26 nurses and nine clinical officers have succumbed to the disease.