MWAZO SUFFERS DEFEAT IN COURT OVER MURIITHI’S APPOINTMENT
The ruling today of the Industrial Court in favour of Muriithi Ndegwa as CEO of KTB, affirming that he indeed holds a valid 3 year contract extension as handed to him by the Head of Civil Service, finally restores a sense of order and continuity to the Kenya Tourism Board and ends a two month power struggle as to who should run the organization. In a rather uncivil action had Mwazo two weeks ago physically removed Muriithi from his office in a cloak and dagger action, mouthpiece scribes in tow, having one staff from KTB describe his ranting as ‘he almost had foam from his mouth, he behaved so agitated and wild’.
Tourism Minister Danson Mwazo, whose position was rendered well near untenable by the ruling of the Industrial Court, is now faced with a hostile private sector, emboldened by this legal success and likely to challenge any future appointments he may make under the aspect of him trying to load his party supporters on to public boards, rendering him all but useless except for parading ‘like a peacock’ as one of his outspoken critics in Nairobi called him in a mail just now. He has also locked horns with the Chairman and board members of KTB who had recommended that Muriithi’s tenure be extended by another three years, leaving him little room now to mend the damage done to the working relationship with top stakeholders. The Minister is broadly blamed for a number of woes which have befallen the industry since he happily stepped into his predecessor’s shoes, which by the look of it remain several sized too large for him, such as failure to provide the required budget for the tourism board’s foreign marketing campaigns, making conflicting statements over the true extent of this year’s downturn in tourism arrivals and blundering over the appointments of board members of a number of new parastatals’ without first gazetting the new act to make it finally law. The sudden cancellation of an award dinner to hold the African World Travel Award ceremony at the Carnivore in Nairobi, when his ministry at the last moment did not find the money to pay up for their share, also left a foul taste in many people’s mouths as this prestigious event was for the first time ever to come to Kenya and in fact honour a significant number of global winners from Kenya and the wider region.
It remains to be seen if Mwazo intends to take this latest court setback into an appeal’s process, but for now has the entire tourism sector, a few Mwazo sycophants apart, breathed a collective sigh of relief and Muriithi Ndegwa will be returning to his rightful work place and office to start repairing the damage done by the minister. Bouquets to the Industrial Court and to Muriithi Ndegwa and barbs galore for the minister, who now is more and more a liability for the sector. Watch this space.