A former education director who hit the headlines in 2020 after he was publicly humiliated by former Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof George Magoha has mourned him as a gallant hero in the education sector.
The former Uasin Gishu County Director of Education Dr Gitonga Mbaka said he has no grudge against the late CS.
At the time, Prof Magoha was put on the spot after a video of him insulting and publicly humiliating Dr Mbaka went viral.
In the clip, recorded during a visit to Langas Primary School in Eldoret, he is heard saying: “Nikisema wewe ni mjinga ni uongo? (If I say that you are fool, would it be false?). He was later kicked out of Magoha’s tour of the region.
Furore at the time led to backlash from Kenyans against Prof Magoha, with some education stakeholders calling for his resignation.
But speaking following news of Prof Magoha’s death on Tuesday, the now retired Dr Mbaka has joined many in eulogising him as a gallant leader who valued the people he worked with.
He has also described the former CS as a hero whom he respected highly due to his diligence.
"I have no issues with the late. As my senior in authority, he owes me nothing. He was a gallant civil servant. May his soul rest in peace," Dr Mbaka told the Nation as he recounted the events of that fateful day in 2020.
“All was going on well during an inspection of coronavirus disease preparedness until Prof Magoha saw some construction materials left behind by workers, which was not my fault, but as the education boss in the county, I had to bear the responsibility,” adds Dr Mbaka who holds a doctorate from Northwestern Christian University in the US.
He reveals that after the incident, he received numerous calls from various people across the country offering him support, even as many Kenyans demanded an apology from Prof Magoha.
The former CS died at the Nairobi Hospital on Tuesday. He was rushed to the facility after suffering a cardiac arrest at home.
He has been mourned by several leaders including former President Uhuru Kenyatta and President William Ruto who expressed the fallen educationist as a towering giant in the field.
“Professor Magoha was a great man who stood tall in academics, where he excelled in learning, teaching, and research, as well as in administration,” said President Ruto in his condolence message.
Before he was appointed Education CS, Prof Magoha chaired the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec) from 2016 to 2019, which he joined from the University of Nairobi where he had been the Vice-Chancellor from 2005 to 2015.
Upon leaving the government, Prof Magoha was appointed Professor of Surgery at Maseno University’s School of Medicine barely a month ago.