•Stephen Mutoro, secretary general of the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), said Nyakera is up to the task.
•Kemas falls under PS Peter Tum, Principal Secretary for Medical Services, according to the schedule shared by CS Nakhumicha last month.
New Kemsa chairman Irungu Nyakera has promised major changes at the troubled drugs distributor.
Nyakera visited Health CS Susan Nakhumicha on Tuesday morning, hours after his appointment.
“There is a need to ensure transparency and accountability in the procurement and distribution of medical supplies,” he said after the meeting.
He added: “The agency has been riddled with graft for the last few years. We will clean the mess, that I can assure Kenyans.”
Nakhumicha expressed her ministry's and the government's support towards the reform process at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority.
Nyakera, who holds a bachelor’s degree in management science and engineering from Stanford University, is a former Transport PS.
He replaced Daniel Rono, who was sacked alongside his entire board members Martin Wamwea, Lenson Kariuki, Pauline Duya, Livingstone Njuguna, and Charles Kariuki Chege.
Kemsa CEO Terry Ramadhani was suspended and Health Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu sacked.
Dr Andrew Mulwa was appointed the Kemsa acting CEO.
Nurses praised President Ruto, who announced the sackings through a statement signed by his chief of staff and head of public service Felix Koskei.
Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary general Seth Panyako asked Ruto to go beyond sackings and reform the authority.
“Most public stunts end there. No further action is taken beyond there. No one has ever been convicted for corruption at the Ministry of Health. We want to see people being prosecuted and convicted,” Panyako said.
He mentioned the ministry lost Sh1 billion in 2016 buying bogus containers valued at Sh150 million, to be used as portable clinics.
“The containers are still lying in Mombasa. We complained about the scandal and what they did was transfer the internal auditor from the ministry. MoH has been sacred and no one has been touching it. I fought to bring this Kenya Kwanza in place. I'm happy the MoH will not sit pretty anymore,” he said.
Stephen Mutoro, secretary general of the Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek), said Nyakera is up to the task.
“There is only one way to succeed at Kemsa: Ask your closest friends and relatives not to pitch for business at Kemsa for the time being,” he said.
Nakhumicha also announced new board members immediately after the sackings were announced on Monday.
They are Bernard Kipkirui Bett, Hezbon Oyieko Omollo, Jane Masiga and Jane Nyagaturi Mbatia.
They will serve for three years.
Rights group Amnesty International Kenya said the sackings are a “knee jerk reaction” and the government should do more.
“What we stand for in Amnesty is accountability. Some of the issues we experience are hospitals not having equipment for the public to utilise. Whatever has happened is a knee jerk because one donor has whistleblown the issue,” said Zaina Kombo, the campaign manager working on inequalities and discrimination at Amnesty.
She added: “We want to see full-blown accountability so we don’t have kneejerk every time it happens and It fizzles. We want an overhaul and transparency. Many populations are suffering with no critical medicine. Access to paracetamol is even a challenge.”
However, questions were also asked why the President sacked PS Mburu, who is in charge of State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards.
Kemsa falls under PS Peter Tum, Principal Secretary for Medical Services, according to the schedule shared by CS Nakhumicha last month.
In March 2018, during the reign of Sicily Kariuki as Health CS, Kemsa was the only drugs distributor in Africa that Global Fund commended for its excellent drug supply system.
The fund encouraged other countries to learn from Kemsa.
"Procurement processes are able to get medicines at cheaper prices than the Global Fund’s pooled procurement mechanism," the fund's Office of Inspector General said in its 2018 audit report, covering 2016 and 2017.
However, the fund has continued to raise allegations since Kemsa bungled the Covid-19 supplies in 2020.
The most recent Sh3.7 billion mosquito net deal was marred with allegations of irregularities in the tendering process.
The Global Fund had given Kemsa the deal which could see it earn Sh370 million in revenue through warehousing and transport logistics.
It however cancelled it citing irregularities in the procurement process.
The procurement process initiated by Kemsa saw the tender awarded to Shobikaa Impex and Partec East Africa Ltd.
Upon scrutiny, however, Shobikaa Impex did not reflect on the database of the Registrar of Companies.
Ramadhani however defended Kemsa saying Shobikaa was an Indian company which is why it did not reflect in the Kenyan database.