MWAZO REELING AS INDUSTRIAL COURT REINSTATES MURIITHI NDEGWA
First feedback from London is that Kenya’s tourism minister looked perplexed and stunned when news were whispered in his ear that Muriithi Ndegwa, clearly now a subject to the Minister’s personal vengeance, was restored to his rightful position as CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board by order of the Industrial Court in a stay of execution until the principal case will start hearings on November 13th.
Only last weekend did the minister, in an almost rabid fashion, physically storm the KTB offices with a letter and mouthpiece scribes in tow, to evict Ndegwa from his office, to where he was restored by order of the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet.
Ndegwa, civilized as he is, left the KTB premises but went to court while the minister went on a mouthing off spree in London, where he declared before astonished journalists from around the world that he blamed the Kenya Tourism Board for failing to promote the country’s attractions, one of his now trademark foot in mouth statements which only evoked acid scorn from the key private sector stakeholders who had gone to the UK to promote Kenya at WTM.
The Industrial Court in Nairobi, after hearing arguments from both sides, sided with Ndegwa and restored him for the time being to his position as CEO of KTB, delivering a loud slap across Mwazo’s face and bringing instant responses to this correspondent’s attention, by email and DM’s via Twitter and Facebook. Said a Nairobi based source: ‘Perhaps this will teach the minister to sit back and take stock of his insane actions. It is now time for the President to declare himself on this saga and tell the minister enough is enough and either let Ndegwa be or else tell the minister to go. We welcome the ruling of the industrial court to restore Ndegwa until the main case is heard and concluded but our own industry court case will still proceed to establish once and for all what a minister can or cannot do to the organization most important to our industry. We are also disappointed in the minister blaming KTB for not promoting Kenya enough when he is the one who turned the money taps dry. He is the one who failed to build on Balala’s success and standing and get more funding for marketing. Instead he is using cash to create a number of parastatals which will feast on the industry like parasites. These functions should be under one tourism authority, like Tanzania is now considering it along the lines of Zimbabwe. The minister is trying to make these new bodies a playground for his party’s supporters to help in the next elections but we will have none of it. He has started the confrontation and if that is what he wants he can have it. A minister who cannot meet legitimate industry representatives at such crucial times is not representing the private sector at all. Compared to Balala he is a complete failure’ while others expressed support for the KTF court case which was brought against the minister. Notably not one contributor came to the minister’s defense, a damning indictment of a complete breakdown in relations between the ministry and the private sector.
As predicted, another twist in the tail of this story and for sure there will be more, none beneficial to the tourism industry of course, but as if that would matter to a minister who lost the confidence of the private sector over his vengeful shenanigans. Watch this space.