Governors Use KEMSA Scandal in Fight With CS Kagwe

  • Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (center) with other governors including Makueni's Kivutha Kibwana at a press conference in January 2020.
    Kakamega Senator Wycliffe Oparanya (centre) with other governors including Makueni's Kivutha Kibwana at a press conference in January 2020.
    Daily Nation
  • The Council of Governors now wants counties to be allowed to procure pharmaceutical supplies independently without the involvement of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

    A statement signed by Council of Governors (CoG) Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya indicates that county bosses had no faith in KEMSA and needed an immediate end to the Ministry of Health (MoH) protocol. 

    This came just a day after KEMSA CEO Jonah Mwangi Manjari and two other officials were suspended over the alleged irregular procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPEs). 

    “It is saddening that KEMSA, an independent authority with obligation to ensure the well-being of the mwananchi can resort to such unbecoming conduct while the country is facing an international crisis.

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (centre) addresses the press in April 2020 alongside Health Director-General Patrick Amoth (behind) and Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna (right)
    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe (centre) addresses the press in April 2020 alongside Health Director-General Patrick Amoth (behind) and Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna (right)
    File

    "To avoid such eventualities, county governments opposed amendment to the KEMSA Act by seeking redress from the High Court o challenge section 3 of the aforementioned act," read the statement in part

    The act requires county governments to procure both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical supplies from the authority. 

    "We are currently experiencing an unprecedented crisis which calls for urgent solutions. We hereby call upon the High Court to expeditiously dispense the matter challenging the Constitutionality of KEMSA act," continued the statement.

    A report by The Standard indicated that Health CS Mutahi Kagwe as well as the KEMSA criticised the move by the governors.

    “This clean-up will help uphold standards and the economies of scale thereby cheaper prices,” stated Kagwe.

    “As far as I am concerned, Governor Oparanya is playing to the gallery. It is totally uncalled for to apportion blame when my request to meet him or the council Health Committee has been unsuccessful for the last one year,” added KEMSA board chairperson Kembi Gitura.

    KEMSA commercial director Eluid Muriithi and procurement director Charles Juma faced desciplinary action on Friday, August 14, alongside the CEO.

    Operations director Edward Njoroge Njuguna, was appointed by the board to serve as the acting CEO, while Edward Buluma and Dr George Walukana were named acting procurement and commercial directors respectively.

    The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) launched investigations into the procurement of Covid-19 kits which reportedly led to the loss of billions of shillings. 

    Twelve companies are said to have been awarded tenders worth Ksh3 billion to supply items that were not covered in KEMSA's budget as at June 4, 2020.

    From left: Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Council of Governor chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba address the press in Nairobi on December 16, 2019.
    From left: Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Council of Governor chairman Wycliffe Oparanya and Trans Nzoia governor Patrick Khaemba address the press in Nairobi on December 16, 2019.