MPs criticise impending lay-offs in troubled Kemsa

A section of legislators allied to One Kenya Alliance have criticised the move by the government to overhaul Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

The leaders led by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said the government should instead probe staff behind graft at Kemsa and leave junior staff to continue working.

Wamalwa observed that laying off junior employees at the agency was not a solution to the challenges, adding that they were just the "small fish" in the mega scandal.

“I challenge Health CS Mutahi Kagwe to ensure those who swindled billions of money meant to fight Covid-19 are charged and Kemsa stabilised,” said Dr Wamalwa.

He challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene on the matter urgently, and added that it was uncalled for to lay off staff at the agency.

Wamalwa was with MPs Charles Nguna (Mwingi West), Joyce Kamene (Machakos Woman representative), and Innocent Obiri (Bobasi).

Kamene challenged leaders in the Health docket to amicably resolve the matter rather than lay off staff.

Nguna said the culprits are known yet the agency is only keen on laying off those who were not involved in the theft.

“We know the people who have misappropriated our funds, let us confront them instead,” he said.

Nguna noted that there is a need for the President to form a task force on the matter when culprits are already known, and instead challenged him to crack the whip.

He noted that the same culprits will reach out to the electorate with the same funds to bribe them as they seek elective positions.

The sentiments were echoed by Obiri who said it is an injustice to lay off junior staff like clerks and secretaries, noting that they were not involved.

“The poor people are now being laid off - more than 900 people. They now add up to the 15 million unemployed people in the country. Our government must think twice about this decision,” he said.

Obiri added, “Let no one lie to you that the government does not have money, it has adequate, but the challenge is the manner in which the funds are used. Some Sh7.5 billion is allocated to buy medical supplies for Covid-19, but not even Sh1 billion reaches the citizens."