Taming Magoha: CS Magoha’s end times as PSC transfers HR Functions to his Junior
Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha (pictured above) has been stripped off powers to officiate any human resource functions at his ministry effective November 13, 2020.
The powers have now been transferred to his junior, Dr Belio Kipsang, the Basic Education Principal Secretary, in what appears to be a calculated move to boot him out of the “sensitive docket.”
These changes were made in an official circular released yesterday by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Wha has caught the attention of many analysts is the fact that this is first time that a Cabinet secretary has been demoted through the PSC without direct reference to his immediate boss — the president.
However, by the time the PSC held a meeting on Wednesday to deliberate the matter, relevant consultations with Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua had been undertaken.
“The commission has hereby withdrawn its powers and functions from Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha and delegated the said powers to PS Belio Kipsang with immediate effect,” reads the circular by PSC Chairman Stephen Kirogo in part.
Cabinet Secretaries, as Chief Executive Officers of Ministries and State Departments, are designated as “Authorised Officers” exercising delegated powers and functions of PSC in the management of the human resource under their purview.
This development comes a few days after Magoha was captured live hurling insults at a senior Ministry of Education official in Uasin Gishu County.
In the clip, Magoha abused the official and disdainfully chased away Gitonga Mbaka, a County Director of Education, over for the untidy state of Langas Primary School.
“Nikisema wewe ni mjinga ni uwongo (If I said you are foolish would I be lying?),” said the CS, before ordering the senior staff to walk away from the meeting.
What hurts most is the fact that this demeaning statement was made in full glare of learners, school staff and other ministry officials.
As if this was not enough, CS Magoha proceeded to order teachers at Langas Primary to clean the school.
The action has since drawn a lot of attention and criticism from teachers unions and Kenyans at large.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) national chair Omboko Milemba earlier in the week had led union officials in demanding for a formal apology from Magoha.
The incident came days after Magoha reconstituted councils of public universities and overturned a board decision to appoint an acting CEO at the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service.
Earlier this year, Magoha was caught up in an appointment row relating to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi.
But it was his management of the Covid-19 crisis that overly exposed the man who told MPs that he always turned everything he touched into a success story.
He flip-flopped on re-opening of schools, several times invoking the orders of the president on what squarely falls under his docket.
In July, he told the country that there would be no more schooling this year and that schools will only open in 2021. Against all advice, he also told the country that all pupils would repeat classes next year.
“We’ve looked at all aspects and we have come at a consensus that it is time to re-look our decision,” he later said on September 16 at a press briefing.
Schools were later partly re-opened. On Thursday, President Kenyatta in a manner that betrayed his impatience, ordered him, for the umpteenth time, to issue a calendar on re-opening of schools next year.
Yesterday, Milemba regretted why Magoha did not apologise to Kenyans. “He just needed to apologise and humble himself. Education is a social sector where social values are valuable,” Milemba said. “Let this be a lesson to all of us in the public sector to be careful the way we deal with human resource issues.”
Wilson Sossion, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General however supported Magoha saying he is merely disciplining his staff. “He has not abused teachers. He is simply disciplining his staff,” Sossion said.
“Since when did PSC demote a CS… total confusion!” another top education official who sought anonymity told The Saturday Standard.
The directive by PSC now means Magoha will no longer have direct powers over his staff. Under the Constitution, the Cabinet secretary is the authorising officer of the ministry.
This places him at a powerful position where he has final decisions on the fate of all staff under his ministry.
All these have now been taken away through the circular addressed to chairpersons of Public Universities Councils and copied to the Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua.
“It is expected that such authorised persons act in a manner that is consistent with provisions of the Constitution,” said Kirogo.
During his vetting, Magoha told MPs that he was trained never to trust anybody, including himself.'”It is God through the President who nominated me…. because I dont lobby. I am completely apolitical. I am a thoroughbred professional. And I will die for it,” he added.
Is this the thorough bred professional that God nominated through the President?