A new round of controversy is in the offing at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) after details emerged that the key architects of the Sh5billion Ministry of Health scandal are lobbying for at least three shortlisted candidates be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer, The Informer can authoritatively reveal.
According to our investigations, the cartel network is seeking to have one in their lineup appointed as a stooge to facilitate shoddy dealings in an institution heavily funded by donors.
However, senior officers at the Ministry of Health have expressed serious reservations of those shortlisted and are planning to informally petition Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu over the same.
Five candidates have been shortlisted for the post.
They include Dr Jonah Manjari Mwangi, Dr Waqo Dulacha Ejersa, Dr Stephen Njuguna Waiguru , Dr Joseph Sitienei and Dr Njeri.
Names of the five were shortlisted following interviews conducted over three weeks ago.
The appointee from among those shortlisted will take over from Philip Omondi Odhiambo who is serving on an acting capacity since last year after the retirement of John Munyu on medical grounds. Two of those shortlisted serve as senior officers in the Kiambu County government, health department.
Mwangi is the County Executive member (Cec) in charge of health while Njuguna is his junior serving as the Chief Officer Health services. Waqo on the other hand is the head of national Malaria control programme in the ministry of Health.
Sitienei is attached to Center for Disease Control (CDC) as the head of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control under the ministry of Health.
In 2015, Sitienei was embroiled in a leadership row of the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) after he was appointed as the director to replace Dr John Kibosia.
However, then Cabinet Secretary for Health now in charge of Transport James Macharia ended the leadership row into the controversy saying that there was no change of guard at the hospital.
Notification for recruitment of a substantive Kemsa CEO post was advertised mid last month. KEMSA is a state corporation under the Ministry of Health established under the KEMSA Act 2013 mandated to provide reliable, affordable and quality health products and supply chain solutions to improve healthcare in Kenya and beyond.
In November 2015, KEMSA and USAID signed a Sh65 billion (USD 650 million) five year contract that has seen KEMSA procure, warehouse and distribute medicines for HIV, Malaria and others to public health facilities as an agent of the US Government.
They include pharmaceuticals, supplies, food commodities, laboratory reagents and equipment. The five-year Sh65 billion deal will be in force until 2020.
In this second phase of the deal, USAID is supporting KEMSA to supply of HIV/Aids test kits and medications, contraceptives, malaria test kits and drugs as well as maternal and child-health equipment for all public hospitals across the 47 counties.