The former Deputy Governor for Kitui County, Peninah Malonza was appointed as the new Secretary for Tourism by the Kenyan President Willian Ruto.
Secretary Malonza is one out of 10 women in the new cabinet. She is also the first Cabinet Secretary appointed from the Kitui South constituency since independence and one of the only two ministers in the Ukambani region.
Her supporters say, “It is a big win for the arid Kitui south, which for decades has been marginalized with all the previous cabinet appointments in the last four regimes since 1963, going only to Kitui Central and Mwingi North constituencies.”
The new Secretary, The Hon. Peninah Malonza, was welcomed by outgoing Secretary of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, who had been serving since 1998 and was in charge of the East African nation’s tourism portfolio for 12 years.
Balala served both of the late President’s governments – Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.
Balala was the first congratulating the new Secretary Malonza and offered his full support today.
Balala also congratulated President William Ruto for appointing the new cabinet, saying he was grateful to have served in government since 1998.
Previously, Malonza served as the Deputy Governor of Kitui County between 2013 and 2017. She was deputized by Kitui County’s first Governor, Julius Malombe.
In 2021, Malonza declared her ambitions to unseat the current Kitui County Woman Representative Irene Kasalu.
Secretary Malonza served as the Growth Country Director at Compassion, an NGO in Kenya that supports vulnerable pupils in Kitui County before she started her career as a politician.
Kenya’s important travel and tourism industry is slowly recovering from the devastating COVID pandemic.
There is optimism in the tourism sector in Kenya at this time, with visitors reaching a 91.3% increase in international visitor arrivals between January to August 2022. This translates into 924,812 international tourists visiting Kenya this year so far.
Balala has projected that full recovery of the industry is expected in 2023-2024.
Outgoing Secretary Balala is a global player in the world tourism industry.
In 2017, the former Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism made it second in the world and one in Africa to become the UNWTO Secretary-General.
The next UNWTO elections will take place in 2025. When asked, Balala told eTurboNews there is a probability he may compete in 2025. He also said: “Let me take some time off until January.”
Having served on several important UNWTO committees and being well connected in the global world of tourism, his chances to run as UNWTO Secretary-General should be good.
Yesterday, Balala recorded this message on Facebook in celebration of World Tourism Day.
World Tourism Network Chairman, Juergen Steinmetz, congratulated incoming Secretary Hon. Peninah Malonza and pledged WTN’s continued support for Kenya. Steinmetz is also the original founder of the African Tourism Board.