KENYA: Kagwe moves 60 Health ministry staff

August 2020 DailyNation; Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has transferred 60 officials from Afya House as he attempts to clean up the beleaguered ministry that is on the spot over misuse of coronavirus funds.

Of these, 21 have been redeployed within the Health ministry while the remaining 39 have been transferred to other ministries. Three of the 21 have moved to court to challenge their redeployment.

Mr Kagwe’s action last week, through a circular sent to seniors officials and seen by the Sunday Nation,  came after numerous complaints of corruption and conflict of interest among the ministry staff.

The decision has, however, been met with some resistance, with eight officers refusing to leave the ministry.

“Most of them have moved to their new stations, although there are eight who have refused to move. But with the position that the CS is taking, they will have to move,” said a source.

In the Finance department, head of planning, Mr Joseph Muraga, was removed and replaced with Mr Nthege Samuel. Mr Nthege has, however, not reported to the new station.

Covid-19 billions

Dr Daniel Langat, head of disease surveillance, epidemics and response, has been deployed to Nakuru County while Dr Samuel Kadivane Kazi from Nairobi Metropolitan Services took up his position. Dr Grace Ikahu, head of National Malaria Programme, moves to International Health Relations while Dr George Githuka Njoroge takes up her position from the Department of Health, Policy Research and Development.

The changes came as pressure from the civil society and international community intensified over the alleged mismanagement of the Covid-19 billions.

The Procurement department was the most affected, with 12 officers being removed from the ministry’s payroll. They include Karuki James (deputy head of procurement),Oyaro Samuel (senior Supply Chain, Spinal Injury Hospital), Mwenda David (head, Non-Communicable Diseases), Waweru Susan  (head of Nascop) Ondieki James (in charge of blood) and Adero Priscah, procurement head in charge of radiation protection.

Mogusu Matini, Nyanja Jenipher, Njagi Richard, Owiti Fredrick, Ndugu Lucy and Mbwele from the supply chain were also removed.

Several accountants, among them Margaret Ngangu, Anne Raja (invoicing), Gideon Achwoga (Nascop) and Benjamin Dede, in charge of the Malaria Programme were also shown sent away. Their replacements have since reported.

In Administration, Mr Mugambi Benson, head of Administration, Morang’a Murekwa in charge of Medical Equipment Supplies, Ibrahim Maalim, deputy head administration, Anyumba Paul, in charge of Nascop, Anne Chelegat, headquarters admin and Osman Abdullahi, in charge of transport, were replaced.

Two human resource officers Catherine Nganga (head of HR) and Waweru Zipporah (Payroll) were replaced by Albert Mokua and Zipporah Mutahi.

Other HR officers brought in are Cyril Keah, Tom Emonde from Mathari Hospital, Wickliph Agufana from Agenda section), Joseph Wambo , Doris Nyaboke (salaries) and Nathanael Mutekwa in charge of complement.

Dr Bob Agwata Nyaribari from Nascop moves to the National Malaria Programme while Dr Sheik Mohammed, head of Family Health moves to the National Council for Population and Development.

Dr Jonah Maina Mwangi from Health Product and Technology has been moved to Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) while Dr Abel Nyakiongora, who was head of Health Sector Co-ordination and International Health Relations moved to Kenya National Hospital and replaced by Dr MO

Obtained orders

Dr Joseph Jumba,head of MTRH, moves to KNH; Dr John Demi Kiiru of Kemri heads the National Public Health Laboratory Services while Dr Tracy Wanjiru from MTRH moves to head the Division of Logistics and Management. Dr Victoria Rhoda, who was the deputy head at MTRH has been confirmed as the head.

Dr Hezekiah Chepkwony and Dr Pius Wanjala from National Quality Control Laboratory were moved to Kenya Medical Training College and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital as Dr Fridah Govedi, head of National Blood Transfusion Services and Human Organs Transplantation, moved to KNH. The three have since moved to court and obtained orders stopping their deployment. 

Procurement irregularities

Mr Kagwe has on various occasions, come face-to-face with the full force of the cartels, and admitted that his ministry is a citadel of corruption. He has warned that their days are numbered.

The CS has recently been under pressure from leaders challenging him to take responsibility for the Covid-19 procurement scandal and resign, but he has remained adamant

“We have been patient for a long time, cartels are not beaten overnight. They fight back. We are determined to fight,” Mr Kagwe said.

The multibillion-shilling procurement irregularities have claimed the first casualties, after Kenya Medical Supplies Authority chief executive Dr Jonah Mwangi and two other directors, procurement director Charles Juma and commercial director Eliud Muriithi were directed to step aside as anti-corruption detectives piece together a case against those who have stolen.

According to an insider who sought anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the media, on average, many officers had served in the ministry for more than 10 years.

“People tend to be more comfortable depending on how long they stay in a ministry, that’s why they are removed and others brought in,” he said

He said the reshuffle is meant to help the government to get rid of cartels.

“It is like the officers have been moved to junior positions and most of them have since moved to court to counter the deployment,” said the source.

Mr Kagwe told the Sunday Nation that he is determined to see that corruption and cartels are dealt with once and for all.

“ It is not that I am taking my time as people think, uprooting them is not something that can be done once; it will take time but we shall manage,” he said, adding that he was “building a team of trusted people, who are against corruption”.

“The future is bright.  I am going to do it,” Mr Kagwe said.

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