Doctors in Kenya To Sue IG Koome Over Comments On Medics Protests

The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) announced on Monday that they have taken legal action against Inspector General of Police, Japhet Koome, following his remarks on Sunday regarding the protests led by doctors and clinical officers. The protests began on March 14, with medical professionals expressing grievances over the government’s failure to assign medical interns and uphold a 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) outlining doctors’ employment terms.

Koome’s statement highlighted concerns about the disruptions caused by the protests, citing traffic congestion and alleging that doctors had not adhered to legal requirements by informing the police in advance of their demonstrations. In response, KMPDU Secretary General Davji Atellah refuted Koome’s assertions, characterizing them as falsehoods intended to deter the union from continuing their protests.

At a press conference in Nairobi, Dr. Atellah confirmed that legal action had been initiated against the Inspector General for defamation. Despite ongoing negotiations between government representatives, including the Ministry of Health and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei, and medical professionals to reach a resolution, discussions have thus far yielded no progress. The doctors accused the government of effectively being on strike themselves and impeding constructive dialogue.

Dr. Atellah reiterated the union’s commitment to their cause, announcing plans to resume protests on Tuesday, with prior notification given to the police. He emphasized that no form of coercion would compel them to halt the strike until a satisfactory return-to-work agreement, safeguarding the terms of the CBA, is reached.

Various civil society organizations, including the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Katiba Institute, and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), condemned IG Koome’s remarks, asserting the doctors’ right to peaceful protest. They demanded an apology from Koome by 6 pm on Sunday, threatening legal action if he failed to comply.