How Cartels are using Duale to ‘steal’ workers’ NHIF contributions

The Garissa Township legislator Aden Duale has been presenting several bills in the National Assembly, with some flopping and some sailing through. However, details have emerged that the National Assembly majority leader is being used by graft cartels to remove workers’ and employers’ representatives from NHIF board to steal their contributions.

The COTU Secretary general Francis Atwoli on Monday asked Duale to stop interfering with workers’ rights since his activities “will weaken the board’s oversight role”.

“Duale is using the proposed Bill (The Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment) to remove Cotu and Federation of Kenyan Employers that represent the interest of workers and employers at the National Health Insurance Fund. These are the two bodies in charge of the oversight role on the workers’ contributions to the NHIF,” Atwoli was quoted by a local daily.

He was responding to the newly tabled, The Statute Law Miscellaneous Amendment No 2 of 2018 meant to get Cotu and the FKE out of the health insurer’s board.

The Bill, tabled by Duale, wants to give the Labour minister powers to nominate the NHIF board if passed into law.

“The Central Organisation of Trade Unions has been deliberately denied its oversight role over workers contributions at NHIF. NHIF belongs to workers and employers,” Atwoli said.

He told Duale to focus on serving Kenyans. He said NHIF was founded by workers and the new amendments were against the Constitution, which calls for effective representation and oversight.

“Workers must have a say on NHIF and influence the policies.  Cotu talks on behalf of the people. Duale should know that the representation on board is not a favour from the government,” Atwoli said.

He said the recent graft scandals at the NHIF were “a clear indication that Duale wanted NHIF to have a poorly structured oversight board”.

“With the recent corruption allegations it only raises eyebrows why Duale introduces such a demeaning bill that kicks out the owners of NHIF from managing their funds.” 

Atwoli said the workers’ umbrella union and NHIF held a consultative meeting in Naivasha less than two weeks ago and the issue of board membership never came up.

“We must know the motive of the bill and where it is originating from,” Atwoli said.

He told the government to stop fighting Cotu and FKE but support the two in protecting the interests of Kenyans.

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