KEMSA Board Orders 23 Top Managers To Go On Leave For 45 Days

Written by on 12 February 2022

Panic has gripped employees at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) after 23 senior managers and directors were sent on forced leave. 

A board meeting held on Thursday this week, was the precursor to the move which KEMSA explains as aimed at reducing accrued leave days over two years. 

The officials forced to take leave on Thursday were only allowed to collect personal effects on Friday morning before being escorted out of KEMSA offices. 

As early as 7am, senior managers at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), walked into the commercial street offices to collect personal belongings. This, following a move by the board of management to send 23 senior managers and directors on forced leave in what the authority says is part of  “a transformation programme to fine-tune the organisation to current market demands.”

In a statement, the board chairperson Mary Mwadime stated that the process kicked off late last year, where all staff members were requested to work from home. 

According to sources privy to happenings on Friday morning,  the managers were escorted by police officers to their respective offices. By 8am all the 23 Directors and senior managers had left the premises. 

After a board meeting held on Thursday this week, the acting Chief Executive Officer John Kabuchi wrote to the 23 managers and directors to complete leave forms for 45 days each and drop them off by close of the business same day. 

In a statement, KEMSA chairperson Mary Mwadime told Citizen TV that “all Directors and Senior Managers, among other staff members with pending leave days, have been asked to proceed on leave as part of the Human Resource Management strategy to reduce the leave days liability.  In effect, interim officers have been appointed to ensure business continuity.”

Addressing panic which was triggered by the move, the board stated that KEMSA had not fired a single employee and was not in any way pre-empting the outcome of the three cases in court challenging the planned changes to KEMSA management. 

However, the forced leave has been explained more as an attempt to cut monies owed to the affected individuals which may signal cloudy times ahead for those affected. The State Corporations Advisory Committee – SCAC had indicated that KEMSA had 900 members of staff against an allowed 380. The new board has often alluded to organisational restructuring and according to a source, more than half the current workforce is likely to lose jobs.

In November last year, Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union, a Nakuru based doctor and 71 staff members moved to court separately to stop the planned takeover of Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) by members of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and National Youth Service (NYS). In their application, the union said the move to unilaterally sack 900 employees of the authority and deploying KDF and NYS members in their place is unfair and amounts to unjust termination of employment.  

The Employment and Labour Relations Court will issue a judgement on the 24th of this month. 

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