• Thursday, 01 December 2022
Balala is hired just days after handing over the tourism docket.

Balala is hired just days after handing over the tourism docket.

Najib Balala, the former Tourism Cabinet Secretary, has landed a lucrative job just days after handing over the reins to his successor, Peninah Malonza.

Fauna and Flora International (FFI), an international non-governmental organization dedicated to the conservation of threatened wildlife and habitats, announced Mr Balala's appointment as Vice President in a statement issued Thursday.

"With his vast experience in wildlife conservation and tourism, he will be instrumental in supporting the charity, as well as leading our future development agendas and partnerships globally," FFI CEO Mark Rose said.

FFI expressed confidence in Mr Balala's appointment, praising his career in the field and noting that he played a significant role in boosting tourism growth and stability in Kenya during his time as CS.

Prior to handing over to Ms Malonza, he served as CS for nearly 12 years, in both the late Mwai Kibaki's and former President Uhuru Kenyatta's governments.

Mr Balala oversaw the development, launch, and implementation of the National Wildlife Strategy 2030 in 2018, which FFI describes as a roadmap for transforming Kenyan wildlife conservation.

He was also instrumental in the development and implementation of the Wildlife Policy 2021.

"His close working relationships with private and institutional investors, conservation and regional development agencies resulted in the realization of the tourism and wildlife sector's economic potential." "He will be an excellent global ambassador for FFI, and we are fortunate to be able to benefit from his wealth of knowledge and experience," Mr Rose said.

Occupational path
Mr Balala began his political career as the mayor of Mombasa, rising through the ranks to become a minister over time.

He was appointed Gender, Sports, and Culture minister in Mwai Kibaki's government after being elected to Parliament for the Mvita constituency under Narc in 2002.

Later, in 2004, he was transferred to National Heritage before being fired as President Kibaki purge politicians who campaigned against the draft Constitution in the 2005 referendum.

Following a political agreement between Mr Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, Mr Balala returned to the Cabinet in the Tourism portfolio following the 2007 post-election violence.

Mr Balala formed The National Alliance with retired President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2012.

He then founded his own party, the Republican Congress Party, and ran for the Mombasa senatorial seat in the 2013 elections, losing to Wiper's Hassan Omar.

Later, he was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Mining. When President Kenyatta was re-elected for a second term in 2017, he was re-appointed to the Cabinet.

He is currently the Chair of the United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) commission for Africa.