By Andrew Ombuni, Nairobi
Former Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has been described as a unique and distinguished leader who had the interests of Kenya at heart.
Leaders led by President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga led Kenyans in mourning the fallen scholar.
Magoha died aged 71 after suffering cardiac arrest, this is according to Nairobi Hospital CEO James Nyamongi. His body is at Lee Funeral Home. His death comes at time, his brother Prof Alex Magoha who died in the US and was to be buried this coming Saturday.
Magoha’s other brother, Charles Agunga died in Sweden in August 2021.
“I have learnt with great sorrow about the passing of Prof. George Magoha. Prof. Magoha is a towering giant of our time, a great man who stood tall in the academy, where he excelled in learning, teaching and research, as well as in administration, where he led robust turnaround interventions at the University of Nairobi and the Kenya National Examinations Council,” said Ruto
He added: “Prof. Magoha also famously served as the Cabinet Secretary for Education. Throughout his tenure, he evinced a commitment to high standards in the public service and an uncompromising integrity,”
Ruto said that he was privileged to know and work with the late Professor in many capacities, from the university where I completed my post-graduate studies, to government, where he served with distinction as the chair of KNEC and later as my colleague in Cabinet.
“We have lost a gifted, unique, distinguished and great servant of Kenya. I join Kenyans and people from other parts of the world in mourning the passing of Prof. Magoha. I also send condolences to his family and pray that Almighty God grants them divine comfort and grace in this moment of grief,” said Ruto
Raila said Magoha was a transformational leader and an illustrious scholar who has an indelible mark in the county’s education system.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. George Magoha, a transformational leader, illustrious scholar, dedicated public servant, and distinguished medical doctor who left an indelible mark on our country’s education system,” said Raila
He added: “We will remember him for his incredible intellect, wit, and ability to inspire and challenge us to do our best. My condolences go out to his family and colleagues. May he Rest in Eternal Peace,”
President Emeritus Uhuru Kenyatta said: “”It is unfortunate and painful that we’ve lost my friend Prof George Magoha at a time when his family is mourning his brother,” the former President said as he wished the Magoha family God’s comfort during this difficult period of immense grief,”
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said Magoha was known for his independence of mind and fearlessness, adding that he was an accomplished professional who served the Republic of Kenya with zeal as witnessed when he served as the Cabinet Secretary for Education and other posts held earlier.
He said that in his field of Medicine, Prof Magoha has made immense contributions in practice of medicine and research.
“In the education sector, he left an indelible mark at the University of Nairobi – where he rose through the ranks to become a Vice Chancellor, at the Kenya National Examination Council as the Chairperson and finally as the CS for Education,” said Gachagua
He went on: I will miss Prof Magoha, a man I personally admired for his forthrightness and ethics. My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Prof Magoha,”
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof Kiama Gitahi said Magoha was a servant leader who defended what he believed was right. “University of Nairobi Community mourns the sudden death of its former Vice Chancellor, Prof. George Magoha. I worked closely with him since 2003 when I joined University management.,”
“Prof Magoha was known for his indefatigable defender of whatever he believed in. Sometimes in the year 2009, I made an appointment for Prof Wangari Maathai to meet him to share some thoughts on the conceptualization of Wangari Maathai Institute. It did not take long before winning his support,” said Prof Kiama
Martha Karua said: “I am saddened by the passing of former CS of Education, Prof. George Magoha. His transformative leadership and dedication to public service has left indelible footprints especially on Kenya’s education terrain,”
Prof. Magoha’s Family was a urologist cum gynaecologist. He was born in 1952.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery with a specialization in urology from University of Lagos in Nigeria, University of Ibadan, Royal postgraduate medical school in UK and Royal college of surgeons in Ireland. He has served as a former education cabinet secretary in Uhuru’s government, chairman of KNEC and former Vice chancellor of UON.
Until his death, he was working as a Professor of Surgery at the University of Nairobi’s College of Health Sciences and consultant urologist at Kenyatta National Hospital. Had just secured another job at Maseno University.
His wife, Dr Odudu Barbara Magoha was born in Nigeria. She holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine at University of Lagos in Nigeria and masters of medicine in obstetrics and gynaecology from University of Nairobi.
She currently works as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital and a medicine lecturer at the University of Nairobi, her alma mater.
According to sources, Magoha met his wife at the University of Lagos, where both were students of medicine and got married in 1982.
Dr Michael Augustus Achianja Magoha is the only son and child of Magoha family. He holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery with a specialization in neurosurgery from the University of Nairobi.
He currently doubles as a Lecturer in Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery at UoN and a consulting surgeon at Kenyatta National Hospital.