Doctor’s Strike Will Fail Due to Lack of Political Support – Martin Ngatia
Once again, Kenyan doctors are on strike to demand the implementation of the 2013 Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) reached by the government to increase doctor’s wages. Since the dictatorships of Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, workers on strike have consistently been duped by these corrupt governments on agreements that have notoriously failed at the implementation stage. Why?
Just like the Doctors, workers on strike have always been on their own, deprived of political support as they down tools. A strike action to demand higher wages is a political action which cannot succeed on a long term without political support. This is because the implementation machinery in any workers-government agreement is politically controlled. Without workers having a say in the political process, their demands are likely to reach a dead end as they continue to beg the leadership to honour agreements.
The reason why political support has always been missing in workers’ strike actions is because the existing political parties are capitalistic in orientation and cannot therefore support striking workers. A demand for higher wages by workers is an attack on capitalist profits for the rich owners of capital. A party or government that represents the interest of the rich cannot therefore side with or support workers on strike. Both Jubilee Party and their CORD counterparts represent and defend the interest of the rich. They cannot therefore support the striking workers. What is more?
An observer could have expected Cord, the main Opposition, to take advantage of the Doctor’s strike to attack the Jubilee government and call on Uhuru Kenyatta to take responsibility for not honouring the CBA reached between the government and the Doctors. The propaganda value of the doctor’s strike is so huge because Cord could have mobilized the Doctors by calling a huge solidarity rally at Uhuru Park to be attended by all Medics in Nairobi as Cord coordinates similar rallies in other parts of the country. Additionally, Cord could have been busy seeking votes from medics in Kenya and promising to implement the CBA as soon as it seizes power. Instead of exploiting this massive propaganda fodder to gain political mileage, the entire Cord leadership has suddenly gone to sleep.
The explanation is that Cord cannot support the striking Doctors on a massive scale because it fears that if it forms the government, it might be faced with a huge demand from workers in other sectors demanding higher wages or seeking similar treatment drawn from the Doctor’s example. To deal with such an outpouring of demands from thousands or millions of workers, a Cord government might have to deplete State resources with possible bankruptcy and collapse. Only a socialist government can increase workers’ wages on a mass scale because the solution of socialists is to nationalize the wealth-producing institutions across the country then using the billions of profits routinely pocketed by the rich to increase workers’ wages.
For workers to succeed collectively in raising the standard of their living conditions through wage hikes, they will have to organize politically to conquer state power. Workers will have to be represented in Parliament while they will also have to be part of the political decision-making process. For this to happen, they will need a political party with a socialist leadership well-versed in the socialist ideology. The Party will have to know the road to “Workers Power”. This party has already been constructed and its name is Kenya Red Alliance (KRA). Workers across Kenya should study KRA’s ideas very keenly and join the Party to help workers come to power. This is KRA’s message to the striking Doctors.