Najib Balala (born 20 September 1967) is a Kenyan politician who formerly served as the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism. He traces his ancestral origin to the Hadhrami people of Yemen. M.P. for Mvita Constituency.[1] He was the party leader of The Republican Congress Party of Kenya (RC), a partner of the Jubilee Coalition.[2]

Najib Balala
نجيب بالعلا
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism
In office
15 May 2013 – 27 October 2022
PresidentUhuru Kenyatta
Minister for Tourism
In office
2008 – March 2012
PresidentMwai Kibaki
Succeeded byDanson Mwazo
Member of Parliament
for Mvita Constituency
In office
Preceded byShariff Nassir
Succeeded byAbdulswamad Nassir
Personal details
Born (1967-09-20) 20 September 1967 (age 56)
Mombasa, Kenya
Political partyRepublican Congress
Alma materUS International University

Early life and education edit

Born to a family of Hadhrami, Balala attended Serani Boys primary school, and Kakamega High School, a national school.[3] He studied Business Administration and International Urban Management and Leadership at the University of Toronto, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[4]

Experience and career edit

  • Prior to venturing into public life, Najib Balala worked in private sector tourism, and eventually joined a family tea and coffee trading business[5]
  • Secretary of The Swahili Cultural Centre (1993–1996)
  • Chairman of Coast Tourist Association (1996–1999)
  • Mayor of Mombasa (1998–1999)
  • Chairman, Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Mombasa Chapter) (2000–2003)
  • Member of Parliament for Mvita Constituency (27 Dec 2002 – 15 Dec 2007)
  • Minister for Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services (7 Jan 2003 – 31 June 2004)
  • Acting Minister for Labour (Jan – June 2003)
  • Minister for National Heritage (31 June – 21 Nov 2005)
  • Member of Parliament for Mvita Constituency (27 Dec 2007 – 15 Jan 2013)
  • Chairman of the UNWTO Executive Council[6] (11 Nov 2011 – March 2012)
  • Minister for Tourism (17 Apr 2008 – 26 March 2012)
  • Cabinet Secretary for Mining (15 May 2013 – June 2015)
  • Cabinet Secretary for Tourism (June 2015 to 2022)

Politics edit

Balala began his political career as the Mayor of Mombasa, Kenya.[7] He was then elected to a Mvita parliamentary seat in the 2002 general elections. Prior to that, Balala served as vice-chairman of Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Chairman of All Local Government Association of Kenya, and Chairman of Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association.[8]

Balala was the longest serving Minister for Tourism, a position he held from the beginning of 2008 until 26 March 2012, when he was dismissed during a cabinet reshuffle.[citation needed] He formed The Republican Congress Party of Kenya (RC) in April 2012 that became a principal partner in the Jubilee Coalition with President Uhuru Kenyatta (TNA), William Samoei Ruto (URP), and Charity Ngilu (Narc).

As Cabinet Secretary for Mining he revoked licenses issued by the previous government. He has been accused of corruption by Cortec Mining for requesting a bribe of nearly $1 million for the reissuing of the license.

In December 2023, he, along with former principal secretary Leah Addah Gwiyo, and managing partner of West Consults John Odero, was accused of inflating the cost of the project to build a tourism college and arrested. He was the first former minister to be arrested on corruption charges since William Ruto was elected in 2022 on a platform of fighting corruption.[9][10]

Honors and awards edit

  • Silver Star Medal by President[11]
  • E.G.H (Elder of Golden Heart) Medal by President[12]
  • Africa Tourism Minister 2009.[13]
  • Best African Minister for Tourism 2010.[14]
  • Vice-president UNWTO World Tourism Organization[citation needed]
  • Chairman UNWTO World Tourism Organization.[15][16]
  • World Travel and Tourism Council WTT Global Champion.[17]

References edit

  1. ^ "Hon. Najib Balala". World Bank Live. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Hon. Najib Balala". World Bank Live. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Najib Balala". Mzalendo. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Hon. Najib Balala". World Bank Live. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  5. ^ Steinmetz, Juergen (13 September 2019). "Todays UNWTO Star: Hon. Najib Balala from Kenya". Worldtourism Wire. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Tourism CS Balala Elected to Chair Global UNWTO Executive Council". Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  7. ^ "CS Najib Balala". 2020 World Tourism Conference. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  8. ^ "AHIF". Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Najib Balala: Kenyan former tourism minister arrested on corruption charges". 22 December 2023. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  10. ^ "Former Kenyan minister and 2 others charged with fraud over hospitality college project". Associated Press. 22 December 2023. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  11. ^ "Kenya Order of the Golden Heart". Gentleman's Military Interest Club. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  12. ^ Kenya must resist radical fanatics [dead link]
  13. ^ "Kenya-ªs Balala named Africa Tourism Minister of the Year". Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  14. ^ "AHIF". Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Hon. Najib Balala". World Bank Live. 12 September 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  16. ^ "Tourism CS Balala elected to chair global UNWTO Executive Council". Capital Business. 14 September 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala wins top Tourism Global Award". Radio Jambo. Retrieved 23 May 2021.

External links edit