A Huge Fallout Looms At The National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF)

Trouble between Mr Nguyai and Mr Kamunyo started last year when the chairman threatened to oust his CEO whom he accused of insubordination, sources say the CEO cancelled contracts of the healthcare providers in September following an audit that unearthed massive irregularities under the Comprehensive Secondary School Student Medical Scheme, popularly known as EduAfya

President William Ruto’s declaration that he will speed up the much-needed reforms at the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), could be the main reason why serious fallout is looming at the NHIF between the board and top management.

According to sources privy to the behind-the-scenes power struggle at the NHIF headquarters, board chair Lewis Nguyai is said to have vowed to kick out the Chief Executive Officer Peter Kamunyo whom he has now accused of incompetence, corrupt and that he does not possess the qualifications to manage the fund. Mr Kamunyo was appointed by the NHIF board on April 2020 through a controversial process in which he was allegedly handpicked without being subjected to a competitive process. The board’s chairperson at that time was Hanna Murithi.

NHIF board chair Lewis Nguyai (left) and CEO Peter Kamunyo (right)

Mr Nguyai was appointed as the board’s chair in February 2021 for three years. The board had initially invited applicants for interviews which were conducted and three names were sent to the health CS but sources say then-health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache cancelled the entire process and instead handpicked Mr Kamunyo. It is for this reason that Mr Nguyai now insists that Mr Kamunyo is not qualified to hold the CEO’s position.

According to Nguyai, most members of staff at NHIF hold positions they are not qualified to hold, including the CEO. He has vowed to restructure the organization which will see those who are not suitable kicked out. But the trouble between Nguyai and Kamunyo had even started earlier, last year to be precisely reaching its peak in September when Mr Nguyai threatened to oust Mr Kamunyo accusing him of insubordination following the revocation of contracts for 17 healthcare providers under the scheme.

Sources say Mr Kamunyo cancelled contracts of the healthcare providers in September following an audit that unearthed massive irregularities under the Comprehensive Secondary School Student Medical Scheme, popular as EduAfya.

The Weekly Vision has received information that even as President William Ruto plans to push for comprehensive restructuring at NHIF, the CEO has been running the outfit without consulting the board which he has continued to undermine.  It is for this reason that he has failed to ensure qualified personnel are recruited to hold certain positions currently held by his cronies and allies.

Our investigations reveal that currently 65 per cent of the NHIF top management posts are being held in an acting capacity while experienced and well-educated staff have stagnated or acted in one post for a very long period. According to records held by the HR department, NHIF has 1,835 employees against an approved staff complement of 2,200 meaning it has a deficit of 400 employees.

The fallout between Nguyai and Kamunyo is now threatening the operations of NHIF with Nguyai accusing the Hannah-Muriithi appointed CEO of sabotaging the hospital fund’s operations through high-handed decisions and looting.

Sources reveal that some senior managers are taking administrative and operational directives from Nguyai while one faction of the board is leaning towards Kamunyo.

He has also accused Kamunyo of hiring without following due procedure as nepotism, favouritism and promotions through sexual favours takes center stage. According to sources within the corridors of power at NHIF, it is only a matter of time before President Ruto disbands the entire board and appoints a new competent team to undertake the proposed restructuring and reforms.

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