A day after Tourism CS Najib Balala spoke of his ministry’s futile efforts to contact Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o to market Kenya’s tourism, leaders have weighed in.
Balala while defending his decision to appoint British model Naomi Campbell and as Magical Kenya international ambassador and not Lupita was because she (Lupita) could not be reached for five years.
“I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for Lupita,” Balala said.
Hours after Balala’s statement, Lupita responded sarcastically with a photo in hard laughter and captioned it “Me when I hear the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for five years.”
Following her response, the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB) chair Ezekiel Mutua termed Lupita’s response as “sarcastic”.
“But her sarcastic response to CS Balala’s assertion that she’s not accessible is totally uncalled for and in bad taste. Being a global icon should come with some humility, loyalty to your country and respect for elders…But when the Minister of Tourism says he has been looking for you, that’s your country talking. That’s where humility and respect and honour for your motherland kicks in. Not sarcasm, jests and brickbats,” Mutua said.
He said the right thing for Lupita was to call Balala and discuss the particulars of the job.
He acknowledged that it is true reaching Lupita is not easy but at the same time, “no one could say with certainty that they had a clear way of getting her.”
Mutua recalled the screening of blockbuster film “Black Panther” where Lupita featured extensively.
He said that in as much as KFCB wanted her to grace the event in her home county of Kisumu, they were unable to reach her.
Mutua said that since Lupita has now spoken, Balala can try reach her once more.
“Now that she has spoken, I hope Waziri can reach out to her once more and use this opportunity to get our most treasured and loved daughter engaged in promoting our tourism. Lupita, your country has never needed you more. Get involved and be the bigger person now!”