On Monday, April 8 at 12:35pm local time, Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s founding father, was sworn in as the country’s fourth President. He has now returned to the State House in Nairobi where he spent his early childhood years, to follows in the footsteps of his late father to lead Kenya into a hopefully bright and prosperous future. More than 20 heads of state, heads of government and heads of delegations from across Africa were present to witness the colorful ceremony; a testament to Kenya’s peaceful transition of power and generational change.
The tourism industry has clearly been set at the very center of things to come by the newly sworn in Deputy President William Ruto who set out part of the new government’s agenda. The new leadership of Kenya unmistakably knows very well what potential tourism holds and how it could be developed even more with the right supporting policies and actions. At one time, President Uhuru Kenyatta served as Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board, giving the sector now an added advantage that the highest level of government has a close relationship and full understanding of the tourism industry. Conservation, a matter of severe concern to the tourism and conservation community, was addressed as well by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his inaugural address, as one of the crimes to be tackled head on, and the offenders brought to order.
A new cabinet will see the position of Tourism and Wildlife joined together with Environment. There is intense speculation that the former Minister of Tourism, Najib Balala may return as Cabinet Secretary for this portfolio; a move that would be viewed very favorably by stakeholders in the Tourism industry. One of the first key activities for the new holder of the portfolio will be to move an amendment to the wildlife act, introducing financially crippling fines and long prison sentences for anyone found connected with poaching. The other area will be to operationalize the new tourism agencies created under the tourism act passed by the last parliament and facilitate the Kenya Tourism Board with adequate funding to run a global marketing campaign to aid the recovery of the sector.
We would like to give the best of luck to the new President and Deputy President who are getting off to a brisk and successful start.