Uhuru disbands KEMSA board, appoints new Chair and Directors

Massive layoff looming at KEMSA

President Uhuru Kenyatta has disbanded the board of the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).

The President has appointed Mary Chao Mwadime as the new Chairperson of the KEMSA board for a three-year period term, effective April 30, 2021.

She takes over from former Senate Deputy Speaker, Ambassador Kembi Gitura who was appointed the Chairman of the Communications Authority of Kenya on March 10, 2021.

His appointment was, however, challenged in the Employment and Labour Relations Court by Mr. Benedict Kabugi Ndung’u who said the President failed to form a select panel to conduct the recruitment of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Board Chairman as stipulated by Sections 6 and 6(b) of the Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Act (2013).

In a Gazette notice dated April 28, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has also appointed Capt. (Rtd.) Lawrence Wahome, Robert Nyarango, Terry Kiunge, and Linton Nyaga Kinyua as Members of the Board of Directors of KEMSA.

They will also serve a three-year term effective April 30, 2021.

The new directors will take over Timothy Mwololo Waema, Bibiana K. Njue, Joel Onsare Gesuka and Dorothy Atieno Aywak whose appointments have been revoked.

The new appointments come close to a year after KEMSA was embroiled in a Ksh.7.6 billion scandal involving the procurement of COVID-19 related medical supply equipment.

The appointment also come at a time when the Government is in a protracted tussle with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) over the distribution of Ksh.1.2 billion worth of Anti-Retroviral (ARV) drugs that are currently stuck at the port of Mombasa.

While the Ministry of Health is insisting on using KEMSA to distribute the drugs, USAID is instead pushing for a U.S. private entity, Chemonics Ltd. to oversee the task.

At the centre of the dispute is also the USAID’s insistence on not paying taxes on the ARV shipment, which it has classified as a donation to Kenya, despite using a private entity to distribute the medicines.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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