Kenya coast tourism stakeholders were largely perplexed when news broke yesterday that the Mombasa county governor had sent his tourism secretary packing and move to the agriculture portfolio, generally seen as a demotion and swiftly bringing condemnation for the governor’s action.
In the immediate aftermath of the reshuffle, which comes barely 8 months after the county administration was formed following the March 2013 General Election were speculation and rumors making the rounds, until Anthony Njaramba issued the following statement, clearly singing his own praise and certainly making the job of his successor harder, as he is trying to leave him a pair of oversized shoes to fill:
Start quote of the mail dated January 7 at 12.37 pm local time:
Greetings dear stakeholders,
Happy 2014 to you all. I trust you are all excited and looking forward to this New Year, as we seek to better our tourism industry within the county.
I am obligated to inform you that pursuant to a county government reshuffle effected by His Excellency the Governor as of yesterday, I have been transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The immediate former Health Minister Hon. Joab Tumbo will be taking over the Tourism docket, with immediate effect.
Within the period we have been in service, I am grateful for the cordial working relationship my office has had with the stakeholders. Any minor challenges have been surmounted by our concerted dialogue and working together. We have thus been able to achieve several important milestones, which include:
Monthly clean-up exercises which have greatly contributed to the restoration of Mombasa’s aesthetic beauty.
Initiation of feasibility study for 15,000-seater Mombasa International Convention Center.
Data collection of all hotels, restaurants and pubs that will lead to automated revenue collection.
Drafting of Mombasa County Liquor Control Act that will regulate liquor licensing within the county.
Hosting of highly successful Miss Tourism Kenya 2013, both Mombasa chapter and the national finals.
The first ever Mombasa International Cultural Festival, that will be an annual celebration of our rich cultural heritage.
Advocating for increased direct international chartered flights, such as the recent ones by Condor and Thompson Airlines.
Increment of chartered flights from an average of 10, to a current average of 24.
Continuous stakeholders’ meetings and involvement even at short notice.
Stakeholders’ central role participation in the County affairs, e.g., setting of rates and levies under the County Finance Bill.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the overwhelming support given to my team and I during my tenure in this docket. I pray that the same courtesy will be extending to the incoming Minister.
I look forward to our continued interaction in different fora, and wish you all success in your different endeavors.
We will arrange for a hand-over session with the incoming Minister as soon as possible, but you may contact him on the following email:
[email protected] .
Hon. Anthony Njaramba
County Executive Secretary
Tourism & Culture Development
Email: [email protected]
Several stakeholders took in fact issue with the statement, asking once again where the number of 24 charter flights was coming from, as such “ghost figures” as one regular Mombasa based source put it were “not only not helpful but outright damaging because it gives the impression the coast resorts are doing ok.”
Another source, from a mail received, termed this particular part of the statement “What a joke.”
Njaramba was also blamed for attempting to introduce a bed levy of 500 Kenya shillings per bed per month and a levy on tourism vehicles registered in Mombasa county of Kenya shillings 3,500 per month, which earned him barbs aplenty and set him on a collision course with the coast tourism fraternity. Be that as it may, his removal and shift to the agriculture ministry was receiving more condemnation than applause, giving the Mombasa Governor perhaps some fodder for thought.