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Lupita has been ‘inaccessible’ for five years, Balala justifies Naomi Campbell’s appointment


Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has defended the recent appointment of supermodel Naomi Campbell as Magical Kenya’s international ambassador, saying the appointment is set to market Kenya through the model’s international networks.

Mr Balala said this as he faulted people who have castigated the ministry for failing to appoint a Kenyan in the position, saying the ministry makes the appointments while targeting specific markets.

“We can have one of our own, and we already have Eliud Kipchoge. We are targeting specific markets and sectors, so we will identify brand ambassadors because of that. We use Kipchoge to market Kenya because of his vast international networks,” CS Balala said.

On the question of the suitability of multiple award-winning Kenyan Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o for the role, Balala said his ministry had unsuccessfully tried to get in touch with Ms Nyong’o for five years now.

Commitment to Kenya

“I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for Lupita,” Mr Balala said.

The CS was speaking during the issuance of certificates to some 60 researchers who did studies on the impacts of Covid-19 on travel and tourism industry in Kenya last year, at the Kenyatta University.

The CS heaped praises on Ms Campbell saying “We have a framework to work around her and she accepted to do it for free. She offered herself because of her love and commitment to Kenya. We are now working on the details on how do we use her to promote the destination.”