The Union of Veterinary Practitioners, Kenya, on Wednesday strongly condemned an alleged attack on their members by Kajiado county askaris last week.
The union’s secretary general, Dr Miheso Mulembani, in a statement to newsrooms, claimed 5 county askaris descended on doctors on duty at Small Five Veterinary Hospital in Ongata Rongai and injured several of them.
Mulembani said; “They descended on the state-of-the-art hospital in Ongata Rongai along the Magadi Road and demanded bribes and outlawed licenses.”
He said when the askaris were asked by doctors on duty to identify themselves, they declined and resorted to forceful bodily harm.
In response, Governor Joseph Lenku’s aide Daniel Kanchori on Wednesday said the incident is “unfortunate and should not have occurred in the first place”.
“We regret what happened to the doctors, and we have immediately started our investigations to understand what could have triggered the assault on the staff at Small Five Veterinary Hospital. We will make public our findings as soon as we establish the culprits,” said Kanchori on behalf of Lenku.
Kanchori said whatever action that took place at the hospital does not represent the face of the county. “We need the veterinary doctors, and we truly appreciate what they do in providing services to our people, who are mostly pastoralists,” said Lenku’s aide on his behalf.
The union’s national chairman, Benson Kibore gave the injured doctor’s name as Dennis Lumumba. He said the matter was reported to Ongata Rongai Police Station and was issued OB. No. 98/26/04/2019.
Lumumba, he said is nursing injuries at Sinai Olive Hospital in Ongata Rongai, adding that union members will paralyse veterinary services in the county next week so that they can hand over a petition to the governor.
“We are saying the CEC for Finance must go because this is not how we shall be governed by individuals who have no respect of the law,” said Kibore.
CCTV footage in our possession shows uniformed county askaris dragging two doctors on the floor as they attempt to forcefully take away their mobile phones.
The secretary-general said; “As captured by CCTV footage, our doctors were inhumanely beaten, assaulted and dragged on the floor. The askaris went ahead to confiscate and damage phones belonging to the hospital.”
The phones are used to monitor the state of patients discharged on medication, he said.
The SG further claimed the askaris destroyed hospital equipment and property that includes; X-ray, Ultrasound machines, computers, printers, aquariums, import/export sky kennels among other things.
“Sick and terminally ill patients were denied veterinary care as the doctors on duty roughed up and inhumanely beaten up. One of the doctors is currently hospitalised after the attack,” said Mulembani.
He said veterinary doctors are under oath to care for animals and protect human from zoonotic diseases. The people of Kajiado County depend on livestock for their livelihoods, he added.
The union demanded the immediate arrest of the county askaris who committed the act at the small Five Veterinary Hospital and demanding bribes.
It has also called for the sacking of the CEC in-charge of Finance, Alais Kisota for violation of High Court Order, miscellaneous application No. 782 of 2000 under Trade Licensing Act section 16 (1).
Kisota said he cannot comment on the matter because he has no obligation to respond to public statements “flying around”. We forwarded the statement from the doctors to him, but he maintained that no formal complaint had been taken to his attention.
“In the absence of a complainant, what am I supposed to respond to?” he asked.
The section of the law exempts persons conducting professional services from paying single business permit as this would constitute double taxation, said the SG.
The union also demanded an unreserved apology from Governor Lenku in written form and asked him to recompense to Small Five Veterinary Hospital in full.
“The UVPK considers what happened the hospital last week as an attack to the veterinary profession and we are ready to institute legal and industrial action should the leadership fails to heed to our demands,” said Mulembani.