All You Need To Know About Prof. George Magoha

All You Need To Know About Prof. George Magoha

Professor George Magoha was an acclaimed academic and a consultant surgeon. The no-nonsense medic was known for his work in the Ministry of Education and the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board

On January 24, 2023, International Education Day, Professor George Magoha died at the Nairobi Hospital at the age of 70. He had suffered a cardiac arrest at his home and was taken to The Nairobi Hospital, where attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. 

In this article we delve into the former Education Minister’s early life, as well as his achievements in medicine and in the education sector.

Who Was Professor George Magoha?

In addition to being a professor of surgery and a consultant urologist at the College of Health Sciences at the University of Nairobi, the late Prof. George Magoha served as the institution’s previous vice chancellor. He also previously chaired the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board.

From 2016 until 2019, Magoha served as the Kenya National Examinations Council‘s (KNEC) chairman before his appointment as the Cabinet Secretary for Education by Former President Uhuru Kenyatta. He demonstrated unwavering honesty and a dedication to upholding high standards in the public service throughout his time serving as CS. 

This would earn him the reputation of a no-nonsense minister.

George Magoha
Photo: Courtesy George Nderitu

Magoha’s Achievements/Changes in the Ministry of Education

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Magoha to be the Cabinet Secretary for Education on March 1, 2019. Magoha’s first order of business at the Ministry of Education was to form a task force to give recommendations on the implementation of the Competency Based Curriculum CBC

He provided clear leadership and defended the new curriculum, often dismissing CBC criticism as “malicious.”

Magoha’s primary accomplishment was addressing the declining standard of learning and teaching. He eradicated exam cheating and made the phrase “No more stupid A’s” common. 

The no-nonsense minister used a combination of firmness, courage, consultations, and decisiveness to control irate professors and unruly pupils.

What was Magoha’s Cause of Death?

Magoha passed on after suffering a cardiac arrest at home. Magoha had been ill due to high blood pressure and other medical issues. According to Prof. Walter Mwanda, a family friend, Magoha had collapsed four times before his death.

“…he collapsed, and he was resuscitated by his son who is a medical doctor then 100 meters to the casualty of Nairobi Hospital he collapsed again…”

His son Michael, a physician, would continuously attempt to revive him, but it would all end in failure. The attempts to revive him failed as the issues with his heart grew more severe and negatively impacted him. On the evening of January 24, the formerly vocal state official succumbed to heart complications.

“It is with great regret that we announce the sudden and untimely demise of Professor George Magoha this evening at The Nairobi Hospital,”  – James Nyamongo, C.E.O – The Nairobi Hospital

Early Life

George Albert Omore Magoha was born on July 2, 1952, in Kisumu, Kenya, and was the son of Bernard Boniface Magoha and Sarah Joan Aloo

He moved to Nairobi to stay with his brother From 1960 to 1963, he attended Jina Primary School before transferring to Dr. Livingstone Primary School in Nairobi, where he completed his studies. 

From 1967 to 1970, Magoha attended the Starehe Boys Center for his secondary schooling before enrolling at Strathmore College.

Young George Magoha at Starehe Boys Centre
Photo: Courtesy

As a bass guitarist, Magoha was motivated to join Starehe after seeing their band perform on TV.

“One day, I saw the Starehe Boys band play on television. I liked the bright blue and red colors and I told myself that I wanted to join that school because of that band.”

Magoha’s Career in Medicine

The distinguished medic started working at Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1979 and received his degree there in 1985. Additionally, he was a lecturer in the same facility, and worked as a consultant surgeon in numerous prestigious hospitals in Lagos, Nigeria.

Magoha also earned degrees from the Hammersmith Hospital’s Royal Postgraduate Medical School in 1983, and the Royal College of Surgeons in 1980. He also attended Stanford University‘s School of Business.

In 1988, he began working as a lecturer in urological surgery at the University of Nairobi.He would later advance through the ranks to earn the title of Full Professor of Surgery and served in various administrative positions at the university. Additionally, he worked as an honorary consultant surgeon and urologist at The Nairobi Hospital and Kenyatta National Hospital.

Prior to his death, Magoha had been appointed at Maseno University in Kisumu county as a professor of surgery

Professor Magoha’s Family

Magoha is survived by his wife Dr. Barbara Odudu Magoha, a consultant gynecologist and obstetrician, and son Dr. Michael Magoha. The couple met in Lagos during Magoha’s studies at the University of Lagos, and got married in 1982.

George & Barbara Magoha wedding in 1982
Courtesy: Magoha Family
Magoha and wife at their wedding afterparty
Photo: Courtesy Magoha Family

As the couple’s only child, Dr. Michael Magoha is a neurosurgeon with Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Nairobi.

Dr. Michael Magoha
Courtesy: Twitter @mmagoha

Sadly, Prof. Magoha did not get a chance to pay his last respects to his brother. Magoha passed away just hours before his younger brother Richard Alex Nyabera Magoha’s body arrived at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) before his burial on January 28, 2022.

Richard Alex Magoha Death announcement of a local daily

The Magoha family has lost three brothers in the last two years, having laid to rest Charles Agunga Magoha, who passed away in Sweden, in August 2021.

Tributes from Kenyans

Prof. George Magoha was honored by President William Ruto as a special, talented, and outstanding servant of Kenya. He also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to have known and collaborated with the former education CS 


Former President Uhuru Kenyatta praised Magoha as a renowned academic who leaves behind a significant legacy in public service.

While praising his impact on the education sector, Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also mourned the late academic.

Professor George Magoha will be buried on Saturday. 4th February 2023.

At C.O.K we condole with the family of the distinguished academic and medic, and celebrate an astute servant of Kenya.

C.O.K Correspondent

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