Uhuru Kenyatta: Leverage on Magoha's legacy, stop politicking

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta looks on during the funeral service of former Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha at Odera Akang'o College Campus in Gem, Siaya County on February 11, 2023. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday eulogised former Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) George Magoha as a hardworking public officer who was never distracted by politics.

Kenyatta made the remarks at the Odera Akang'o College Campus in Yala, Siaya County during the funeral service of the late ex-minister.

"If truly, what everybody has said here, is what they mean... because I have sat and listened to so many eulogies here about what a wonderful man lies before us today... then, implement what he started, and let this country benefit from what he worked so hard to achieve; less politics, and more work. That is who Magoha was, and that is what we shall remember of him," said Kenyatta.

He added: "Leaders, shun tribalism and let us make Kenya accommodative for everyone."

The former president attributed the containing of exam cheating to Magoha during his tenure as the chairperson of the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) and the Cabinet Secretary for Education.

"Many of you will recall the numerous cases of exam cheating [in the past]. When Magoha's term as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi ended [in 2015], I settled on him to head KNEC," said Kenyatta.

"Under his leadership, together with Dr. [Fred] Matiang'i, they brought sanity and quality back to our education system," added the former president.

"As if that was not enough, we continued to work together when I appointed him CS for Education [in March 2019]," said Kenyatta.

Describing Magoha as "a great son of this country", the retired Head of State said: "Prof. Magoha was a man committed to education; a man who never saw colour, tribe, religion or nationality."

Recounting Magoha's achievements as Education minister, Kenyatta said Kenya should be grateful to the deceased for championing 100 per cent primary-to-secondary transition.

"He went further to develop curriculum and develop standards for universities that are emulated by other countries such as Malawi and Zambia. Magoha took on the challenge of refreshing our curriculum to make it better-suited for the future of our children.

"For us, we have lost a friend, partner, colleague and a great giant of this country. Ours today is to stand with his family, the same way Magoha stood with us. To the people of Gem [Constituency], be proud to have produced giants such as the one who lies before us."

Magoha died in Nairobi aged 71 on January 24, 2023 after suffering cardiac arrest.

He is survived by his spouse, Dr. Barbara Magoha, and son, Dr. Michael Magoha.