Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has ruled out the possibility of reinstating the 188 nurses who were sacked over alleged misconduct.
Ms Waiguru Wednesday explained that the nurses were replaced by new health workers after they were fired by her government after they went on strike.
"At the moment, we have no vacant positions in the health sector and, therefore, we can't absorb the sacked employees," she said.
The Kirinyaga governor stressed that the nurses were laid off following a High Court ruling and they cannot get back their jobs despite directives by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
"The Public Service Commission can't overrule the decision of the court," she said.
Apply for jobs afresh
Speaking at her official residence in Kagio where she was disbursing Sh3 million bursaries to needy secondary school, college and university students from the region, Ms Waiguru, however, said the nurses can apply for jobs afresh when opportunities arise.
"We are planning to expand some of the health facilities in the area and we may require extra health workers. If we advertise for positions, the sacked nurses can apply for consideration," she said.
But Ms Waiguru said it will take time to recruit more health workers as there is no budget for that purpose.
"We have not budgeted for more workers. At the moment we are busy fighting the third wave of Covid-19 which is spreading fast," she said.
Recently the PSC ordered that the nurses be given back their jobs after they appealed to it for intervention.
The PSC dismissed the disciplinary action taken against the nurses as irregular, unfair and unlawful and ordered that they be reinstated.
It instructed the county government to implement its directive with immediate effect.
In its ruling dated, March 3, 2021 seen by the Nation, the commission noted that the issues raised by the nurses concerning terms and conditions of employment were justified and they should not have been fired.
The commission observed that the nurses gave the county a 28-day strike notice and they only took industrial action after their grievances were not addressed.
The nurses have vowed to go back to work as directed by PSC.
Cleared of any wrongdoing
Led by the local Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary Wangui Karigi, the health workers said they had been cleared of any wrongdoing and they should get back their jobs and be paid their salaries in full as ordered by the commission.
"We have to report back to work without fail and the county government should cooperate," said Ms Karigi.
The nurses were sent home in 2019 after they went on strike, protesting against poor working conditions.
They complained that Kerugoya Hospital was filthy and lacked adequate facilities, making their work difficult.
Further, they accused Governor Waiguru's administration of failing to promote them and took to the streets in protest.