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Relentless Industrial Action in Kenya


Date Posted: 11/8/2017 5:22:07 AM

Posted By: kevinmabz  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 397

The promulgation of the new constitutional dispensation in Kenya on the 27th August,2010 was met with great apprehension and was regarded as a step forward in championing the Kenyan dream.Majority of Kenyans who voted in the new order (67% actually),were very optimistic of the gains that would be realized from the supreme law,and help wash away the memories of the diverse versions that existed.The new supreme provides for a two level government,the county government and the national government that are distinct and interdependent and shall be guided by the principle of mutual relations on the basis of cooperation and consultation; as envisaged in article 6(2)of the constitution.The subject above draws its significance from this constitution especially,because of the chapter on devolution (Chapter 11).

This chapter provides for the basis of a two level government with objects clearly specified and was meant principally to decentralize state organs,their functions and services closer to the people.The fourth schedule in the constitution has provided for how the two levels of governments share their functions. We've been in a stage of transition after the 2013 general elections that bore the first dispensation of a two level government and we've embarked on a second phase after the August 2017 elections where majority of the pioneer governors bore the brunt of deselection after failing to deliver on their pledges.

What we've witnessed however is a series of labor relations disputes since the advent of the devolved government in 2013,with different key sectors of the economy;education and health severely impaired.As I write this article,I am in one of the Universities where the dons are on strike agitating for the government to honor the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) signed between the government and their respective unions.Just recently,we saw the nurses strike come to an end after nearly five months of

industrial action that culminated in the signing of a consensus and return to work formula between the parties.

What really surprises most is the length of time it took for an agreement to be reached in a key sector of health and gives a true picture of what to expect from the ongoing lecturer's strike.The relentless industrial actions that has seen teachers around the country go on strike more than once,same to lecturers and doctors and nurses is not a coincidence.The devolution of functions to the counties was hastily done especially in the health sector.The health sector function rests with the counties,and as we've seen,they lack capacity to handle the demands of this sector even with the support of the national government.

The education sector function rests with the national government,with the exception of per-primary education,village polytechnics,home-craft centres and childcare facilities as outlined in the fourth schedule.There has been continuous blame game between the two levels of government,who have detoured from the principle of mutual relations and cooperation and consultation in all matters,and embarked on the uncharted waters of war of supremacy.There is a clear parallel in the functions of the two levels and none has a moral authority to blame the other.

The national government who draw the education policy has failed to address the sector's demands,same to the counties with the health sector.We don't want to be called a nation of industrial unrest,and a voice of reason should emanate from somewhere to tame this tide.We as a nation cannot prosper,with key sectors of education and health impaired.The dreams and aspirations of all Kenyans rely on this sectors.A healthy and literate nation can stand adversity and keep the fire burning for a prosperous Kenya as outlined in the blueprint of vision 2030.I believe that this is the last of disputes in the key sectors of the economy for the common good of all.

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