A lot has happened around last week’s botched brain surgery saga at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Just yesterday, the hospital board lifted a suspension on staff implicated in the surgery and declared it had left investigations into the mishap that saw the skull of a wrong patient opened, to the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB).
The decision was reached at after the hospital managers met Health Cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki and the KMPDB. This is a welcome move. However, 15 MPs have signed a motion to impeach Kariuki for sending KNH chief executive Lily Koros on compulsory leave over the surgery.
Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi was yesterday quoted as saying the endeavour was “progressing well” and that members from across the political divide were in support of the petition.
The MPs want Kariuki held responsible for what they call abuse of office and gross violation of rules and regulations. Further, the legislators have accused Kairuki of victimising the CEO, after teaming up with what they termed cartels to have Koros removed. They claim the cartels are targeting the hospital’s funding but have provided no proof.
This reeks of furtherance of parochial interests disguised as oversight by Parliament, especially, coming at a time a professional body and a parliamentary committee undertook to probe the matter and establish what exactly led to the surgeons operating on a wrong patient. The MPs attempting to impeach the CS are jumping the gun and making theirs sound like a witch hunt.
The CS’s action—to send Koros on compulsory leave—is by and large a standard and common practice in organisations whenever something goes seriously wrong. It should be seen as an objective, standard move to allow for smooth investigations, unless someone has evidence to the contrary.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly’s committee on Health says it will open an inquiry into the KNH surgery saga. That is a good thing! It is in order that committee chair Sabina Chege, led more than 12 members, to ask the MPs to give her committee an opportunity to investigate the matter first.
As the rules of natural justice demand, the Health committee will invite the CS, Koros, the doctor(s) who performed the surgery, and the board to tell the world precisely what happened.
It is, therefore, unjustified for the 15 MPs to seek to impeach the CS, now. In the absence of any tangible proof for claims against the CS, their move would easily pass for witch hunt and must not be allowed to derail the due process of probing the KNH saga.