- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe, went straight to work after his appointment by President Uhuru Kenyatta was approved by the Members of Parliament in February 2020.
The former Nyeri Senator's pledge to work towards a health insurance system and to clean up the National Health Insurance Fund, marred by dirty scandals toppling to millions of shillings and his affirmation that he would revamp Afya House appealed to the legislators.
He never had a moment's rest as he was thrown into the deep end after Coronavirus (Covid-19) found its way into Kenya. The calm technocrat is steering the country through what may be the toughest health crisis the nation has ever faced.Former Senator Mutahi Kagwe takes oath of office as Health CS at State House on Thursday, February 20, 2020.
Kagwe's grip on the health docket, informing Kenyans on the developments of the disease even before the country confirmed its first case, indicated that the CS had taken his time to analyse the situation, and didn't want to join the list of CS who fumbled during a crisis.
A poll by Kenyans.co.ke, disclosed how the CS had warmed Kenyan's hearts, stepping up from the darkness that has for long gripped the nation during crisis management. By 12 p.m, Wednesday, March 18, Kagwe had been ranked at an average of 8 out of 10.
"This is that time when we are calling for serious citizen responsibility. This is not a situation where we depend on the government. It is time we take responsibility as a nation. We have to stay calm," Kagwe stated on Friday, March 13, as he confirmed Kenya's first Coronavirus case.
Through his press conferences, the CS managed to incorporate other dockets, such as Interior under Fred Matiang'i, Foreign Affairs led by Rachel Omamo and Transport under James Macharia, insisting on the need to work with collective responsibility.
"CS Mutahi Kagwe is a breath of fresh air. He has -redefined what it means to be in charge of the moment. Sharing information and facing facts is one way for us to take this matter seriously," Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo tweeted on Tuesday, March 17, as more Kenyans lauded the CS.
"Mutahi Kagwe has risen, as just an ordinary man, committed to working with the rest of us, in fighting back against Coronavirus, and that is exactly what we needed, now more than ever. And do you notice he does not show up alone at press conferences? He appears with his entire team and allows them to answer technical questions because he respects their expertise. He has valued and made his team feel important, unlike some departments where a CS would rather die than admit he does not know a thing," Waruguru Kiai, Africa Rising Solutions founder posted on Facebook on Wednesday, March 18.
Most CSs are judged at such moments, with just to name a few, former Agricultural and Interior CSs Mwangi Kiunjuri (2020 Locust Invasion) and Joseph ole Lenku (Westagate Mall attack), exiting the cabinet with a backdrop of a lacklustre performance in the face of crisis.Reactions to Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo's tweet on Tuesday, March 17, 2020File
As the country faced a locust invasion, Mwangi Kiunjuri remarks on photographing the insects raised questions on his competency to handle the docket, with President Kenyatta firing him a few days later.
“If you see any insect that you suspect could be a locust, take a picture and post on social media so we can confirm for you what insect it really is,” he stated.
In August 2019, his counterpart, Kajiado Governor, ole Lenku, opened up on how painful and stressful life was after he left the Interior CS position, following the aftermath of the Westgate Mall terror attack in September 2013.
The governor disclosed that it hurt him how people trolled and abused him for his failures after he made massive blunders while handling the Westgate siege.
During the attack, the then CS stated that smoke emitting from the building was due to the terrorists burning mattresses. A claim that would, later on, be proved wrong.
Despite his grip on the situation, the CS has much to do as the pandemic grows every day. He also has to restore the faith of many other Kenyans in the health system, which has been a bone of contention for long.Sample results on Mutahi Kagwe's administration on Wednesday, March 18, 2020FileSample results of a poll on Mutahi Kagwe's administration on Wednesday, March 18, 2020File
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