Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has clarified the intrigues behind President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to fire the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) board.
Kagwe, while appearing virtually before the Senate Health Committee on Friday, April 30, refuted reports alleging that the head of state was coerced into gazetting the changes by the United States government.
Uhuru overhauled KEMSA’s board after holding a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Blinken was reported to have raised concerns over the agency’s reputation and corruption allegations.
“The US did not influence the appointment of Mary [Chao] Mwadime as the chairperson of the KEMSA Board. His decision to fire the former board members was also made without duress.,” Kagwe explained.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (top left) in a virtual meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta (top right) on Thursday, April 29, 2021
File The President appointed Mwadime to serve for a period of three years.
She took over from James Kembi Gitura who was transferred to be the board chairman of the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK).
Uhuru also directed the Health CS to fire board members. Kagwe revoked the appointments of Timothy Mwololo Waema, Bibiana K. Njue, Joel Onsare Gesuka, and Dorothy Otieno.
He appointed Lawrence Wahome, Robert Nyarango, Terry Kiunge Ramadhani, Linton Nyaga Kinyua to serve for a three-year term.
In August 2020, former US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter and UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott heaped pressure on Kagwe to be accountable for the embezzlement of funds in the KEMSA Ksh7.8 billion scandal. The two diplomats questioned Kagwe’s and Kenya’s efforts to convict suspects.
“I am a very big believer in the chain coming from the top and we have seen President Uhuru Kenyatta crackdown on corruption. Stealing money at the expense of the death of your fellow citizens is not acceptable. No system is perfect but what matters is how it is going to be fixed,” Marriott stated.
Uhuru, later on, ordered investigations into the scandal and demanded answers after 30 days. However, the inquiry by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) appear to have stalled.
Investigations by the National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee are still underway. PIC have so far probed Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe, businessman Wilbroad Gachoka and former KEMSA CEO Dr. Jonah Manjari.
Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe in Parliament on Thursday, April 29, 2021, where he was probed over alleged involvement in the KEMSA scandal.