Josephine Mburu.
Image: The-Star

Principal Secretary Josephine Mburu who was on Monday fired over the latest Kemsa scandal is probably new to controversies.

As the first state appointee in President William Ruto’s administration to lose her job, her sacking may have come as a shocker to the PS who is barely five months in office.

Ruto fired her alongside other officials, a day after he promised to crack the whip on alleged graft in the agency to redeem the government’s image from international donors.


"I am doing something about it. You will see results. I want to give you my commitment, I will clean up Kemsa, whatever it takes, whatever it costs," he said during an interview on Sunday.

Mburu is now the subject of an investigation into the Sh3.7 billion mosquito net deal at the agency fresh from the Sh7 billion Covid-19 pandemic scandal.

So, who is Mburu?


Mburu was nominated for the position by the President after emerging among hundreds of candidates from the interviews conducted by the Public Service Board last November.

The 56-year-old has been at the Ministry of Health for the last 34 years rising through the ranks to be a lecturer at the state-owned Kenya Medical Training College before her appointment.

She holds a Doctorate in Public Health from Jomo Kenyatta University and Masters of Public Health from Kenyatta University College with a major in epidemiology and a minor in health services management.

She previously worked as the acting head of national public health between April-August 2021, head of the microbiology unit, head of the national tuberculosis reference laboratory unit, and acting chief medical laboratory technologist.

A sneak view into her curriculum vitae shows that she started working at the Gatundu and Kiambu hospitals microbiology departments between 1988-94.

During her vetting in Parliament, Mburu told MPs that she has never been mentioned in any investigatory reports, dismissed, or removed from office over the period she has been working.

“The nominee explained that her training and experience in the health sector since 1988 will enable her to identify the challenges and gaps in the health system to enable her to find solutions to the gaps,” a report from the departmental committee on health reads.

In recommending her for the position, the committee chaired by Robert Pukose observed that the nominee was fit to hold the position as the PS for health standards and professional management.

It noted that she has a vast knowledge and experience in the operations and management of affairs in health.

“The nominee’s knowledge and understanding on the subject matter of heath was exemplary although her strength was seen to be in academic and routine managerial process,” it further states.

Mburu had set her focus on delivering universal health coverage (UHC) within the next five years.