KENYAS TOURISM MINISTER NAJIB BALALA SACKED
A cabinet reshuffle announced this afternoon in Nairobi revealed that Kenyas successful and widely respected Minister of Tourism, presently also the Chairman of the UNWTO Executive Committee, was unceremoniously dumped from his ministerial post after reportedly locking horns with his ODM party chairman and presidential aspirant Prime Minister Odinga, whom he had accused of undemocratic if not dictatorial practices in the run up to ODMs nomination of a presidential candidate.
Balala is expected to now turn his back on the party and eventually seek a new political home but at the very least is thought to now vote alongside President Kibakis parliamentary support group.
Balalas close up and hands on style of managing sector affairs is largely credited with the revival and record results for Kenyas tourism industry over the past three years, after a significant downturn in 2008 following widespread election violence. While many in the sector, according to a number of messages already received, will be unhappy with this turn of events, Balalas little known successor, the member of parliament for the Voi constituency Danson Mwazo, makes his first ever appearance on the front bench. He will first have to establish a rapport with the tourism private sector, of which sections already feel that a change of guard in this difficult year, when Kenya is in the run up to another election and facing the downturn of the world economy would need continuity and not upheavals, possible giving the new minister a hard time for the slightest faux pas or misstep in speeches.
Balala last year was elected as Chairman of the hugely influential UNWTO Executive Committee from which he is also now expected to retire at the next possible time, no longer serving in a ministerial capacity, also robbing that body of his experience and counsel. A former mayor of Mombasa, Balala like few others before understood the needs and requirements of the sector and has been an energetic lobbyist year after year to allocate greater funding to the Kenya Tourist Board for marketing the country abroad.
For now, although he will undoubtedly make a comeback sooner or later, it is a fond farewell to Najib and welcome to the hot seat to Danson Mwazo.
Archive for March 26th, 2012
KENYAS TOURISM MINISTER NAJIB BALALA SACKED
ICAOs 1st ever Regional Aviation Safety Group Meeting for Africa and the Indian Ocean islands commenced this morning in Kampala, to be followed in two days by the 18th AFI Planning and Implementation Regional Group Meeting at the same venue, the Imperial Royale Hotel in the Nakasero area of Kampala. Over 250 delegates are assembled from ICAOs Africa and Indian Ocean region, discussing ways and means to improve aviation safety which has been significantly lagging behind global average accident statistics.
While leading airlines in Africa, like Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Egypt Air, Air Mauritius and a few others have been receiving IATAs IOSA certification at an early stage, and been re-certified repeatedly since, other ICAO member countries are faced with bans by the EU for their airlines as a result of doubts on the way oversight is practiced but also their safety standards rooted in questionable maintenance and training practices unacceptable to serious safety oversight bodies which are accountable to their citizens.
The meeting in Kampala, on the first two days dedicated to Regional Aviation Safety, has 5 key areas on the meeting agenda, namely to define terms of reference and decide on the organizational structure of the RASG, incorporate the guidelines of ICAOs Global Aviation Safety Plan, in short GASP, establish mechanisms to measure the implementation of existing recommendations and identify and formulate regional significant safety concerns. Other areas are the establishment of the regional aviation safety team and collaborate with other safety initiatives and regional organizations in the AFI region.
This is ICAOs second major meeting in Uganda, following the 2009 meeting at the same venue and delegates spoken to have overwhelmingly attributed their return to the Pearl of Africa as a result of the great organization by the Uganda CAA organizing team and the general hospitality accorded to them three years ago. At the time the theme was the Economics of Airports and Air Navigation with special focus on Africa of course mapping out ways and means to make air transport more affordable and more attractive by upgrading and modernizing aviation facilities for passengers. Major national programmes have since gone underway with major overhauls at Tanzanias Julius Nyerere International Airport, upcoming at the Kilimanjaro International Airport, witnessed in Nairobi where Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is seeing a massive increase in new facilities while Rwanda is this year embarking on the construction of an entirely new international airport at Bugesera. In addition has in particular Tanzania rolled out a programme of rehabilitation and modernization of secondary airports and tertiary aerodromes, helping to promote air transport where safe and fast road and rail is often absent.
A the conference is now entering the technical stages, watch this space for updates on key resolutions and decisions taken in coming days.
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY GETS NEW BOARD
As preparations continue to expand and modernize JRO and bring the 1970s style airport into the 21st century at last Kilimanjaro International is the main aviation gateway to the famous northern circuit national parks of Arusha, Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti government has appointed a new board of directors last week.
As is customary in Tanzania President Kikwete announced the appointment of his choice of chairman, Ambassador Hassan Kibelloh, while the Minister for Transport Omar Nundu then made public the names of Mssrs. Seleman Seleman, Andrew Nyumayo, Miss M. Mwanilwa and the companys CEO Mark van de Kreeke.
The company had last year secured a loan of 30 million Euros to embark on the work of resurfacing the taxiway and parking spaces, expand the runway and carry out long overdue reconstruction and modernization of the passenger terminal, partly in form of grant and partly as a soft loan with a long term maturity.
Kilimanjaro International, located some 50 kilometres outside Arusha, is destination for amongst other airlines Kenya Airways, Precision Air, RwandAir, Ethiopian Airlines but also overseas operators like KLM. Qatar Airways will be the first of the Middle East giants to link JRO to their global destination network in a few weeks when flights will commence via Nairobi. Watch this space.