We couldn’t reach Lupita for five years, Balala defends Naomi Campbell’s appointment

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o. [Photo: Allure]

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has broken the ice on why he appoited British model Naomi Campbell and not Kenyan Hollywood star Lupita Nyong’o as Magical Kenya international ambassador.

This appointment led to uproar from Kenyans who mentioned that Balala could have picked Lupita who enjoys fame across the world just like Campbell.

However, Balala explained that his ministry has for the past five years been trying to get to Lupita but it has been futile.

“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,” Mr Balala said according to Nation.

The Tourism CS said that world marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has been working with the ministry to market Kenya.

He said both Kipchoge and Campbell’s appointments were informed by target markets.

“We can have one of our own, and we already have Eliud Kipchoge. We are targeting specific markets and sectors, so we will identify brand ambassadors because of that. We use Kipchoge to market Kenya because of his vast international networks,” he added.

Balala said that Campbell’s appointment “doesn’t take away from our domestic market, it only strengthens it.”

He recently added that Campbell accepted to offer her services as a brand ambassador for free due to her “love and commitment for Kenya”.

The 50-year-old English supermodel while speaking after the appointment lauded the Kenyan government for improving infrastructure at the Coast to meet international standards.

 “I am also impressed with the world-class standard facilities at the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Baobab course located in Vipingo Ridge, the only golf course credited by the PGA in the whole of Africa. I invite gold professionals globally to visit the course to enjoy the experience,” she said.

Campbell arrived in the country in mid-December. She flew into the Moi International Airport and then headed to Malindi.

She stayed at the exclusive Lion in the Sun Resort owned by Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore, a former Formula One boss.