By Mary Hearty

The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is celebrating the life and contributions of the late Professor George Albert Magoha, an AAS Fellow and former education Cabinet Secretary of Kenya.

The late Prof. Magoha passed away on 24 January 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya after suffering a cardiac arrest.

He studied at the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos and received a Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1978. He furthered his studies in Surgery and Urology at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, where he graduated in 1985.

He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1980 and Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital in 1983. He trained in executive management at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business, and received many international professional honors and awards.

Before his demise, Prof. Magoha had dedicated his years to working on education, policymaking, and leadership.

Besides the education ministry, he served as the chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council from 2016 to 2019. His impact is unmistakable in higher education, basic education, and in national examinations in Kenya.

Prof. Magoha was the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi (UoN), from January 2005 to January 2015 and a Professor of Surgery and a Consultant Urologist at the College of Health Sciences at UoN.

He was the President of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa (AMCOA), from August 2013 to 2015. He was also the Chairman of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) since 2009 and became a member of the board in 1999.

He became Chairman of the Kenya Association of Urological Surgeons (KAUS) from the year 1997 to 2013 and also the immediate former President of the Association of African Universities (AAU) where he served from 2011 to 2013.

Prof Magoha has also been a commissioner in the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), currently known as the Commission for University Education (CUE) from 2005 to 2013.

Professor Daniel Olago, Governing Council Member of the AAS termed him as a great health academician.

“Prof Magoha was a man who liked to see things done well, effectively, and in a timely manner. He was fair and a stickler for discipline which came through to make him one of our great practitioners as a surgeon, a health academician, and a leader in the management of academic institutions. May his soul rest in peace,” Prof. Olago said.

“Let us all cherish the time we had with Prof Magoha and ensure his legacy lives on in us. Accept our sincere condolences and prayers.” Professor Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, Governing Council Member, AAS.

“Prof Magoha was a force of nature. A dedicated academician who was determined to move any field he was involved in forward. Yet he had a great sense of humor that belied his strict administrative ‘nothing is impossible’ approach to work. He has left a legacy of excellence in all he undertook that will endure. RIP,” Professor Elizabeth Anne Bukusi, AAS Fellow.

“I got the opportunity on a few occasions to interact with Prof. Magoha during his tenure at the helm of the medical regulatory body and as an ardent academician.  I was elated to learn that he was to join Maseno University to provide mentorship to upcoming medical scientists,” said Professor Collins Ouma, AAS Fellow.

“Prof. Magoha was an astute academician who left giant footprints wherever he had the opportunity to serve at different levels. Indeed, an iroko tree has fallen and we are all wandering in the academic world! We pray that God will grant the statesman an eternal rest and also the family and all those his academic ‘dependents’ fortitude to bear the loss.”