President Yoweri Museveni last week said striking doctors risk being sacked.
POLITICS | DOCTORS STRIKE
The Democratic Party (DP) has pledged to give free legal service to striking medics in case the Government takes any action against them.
The move by the party comes after President Yoweri Museveni gave a stern warning to the striking doctors last week, stating that they risk being sacked if they carry on with the strike.
The President, while addressing a rally at Karambi sub-county grounds in Kabarole district, accused the doctors of betraying him, saying he had hoped that they would remain patient until the outcome of the salary review commission.
The commission was established last month to address the discrepancies in the pay of civil servants.
Last week, the Uganda Medical Workers Union dragged all striking doctors and medical practitioners to the Civil Division of the High court over what it termed "engaging in an illegal industrial action", through Rwabwogo & Company Advocates.
"On behalf of DP, we stand in solidarity with the doctors who are currently carrying out an industrial action. We have already pledged to the doctors that we shall offer them legal assistance to counter the threats of dismissal. The party has a number of lawyers. We have fought numerous battles against injustices using the courts of law," stated DP President Norbert Mao.
"The reason why we are promising to offer legal services is because we foresee unlawful dismissal based on the threats by the President, who in total disregard of the doctors' contracts, has threatened to dismiss them. In any negotiation, one needs legal advice, the doctors are in the middle of negotiations in order to get a fair deal and they need legal services. We will give free services," Mao added.
Mao was speaking at the party's weekly press briefing at their head office in Kampala yesterday.
The industrial action by the doctors, which has since taken a toll on patients across the country, has now entered the third week since the medics decided to lay down their tools on November 6.
"The DP point of view is that the Government has invested more in the hardware than in the software. The software in the health sector are the doctors, nurses and other paramedics. Right now because of corruption, there is so much money being poured in buildings like hospitals and other massive structures because that is where the lucrative contracts are," he explained.
Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga, the party chief whip and Kalungu West county Member of Parliament urged government to move quickly to address the problem, instead of issuing threats to doctors who are only exercising their rights like every other employee.
"The Employment Act is clear. If I am employed by anybody, I am free to strike if am not given equipment. The issue of health in Uganda is not about striking for salary increment, but also the equipment," Ssewungu said.