6 November 2012

Kenya: Federation Sues Over KTB Leadership Wars

A tourism industry lobby group has moved to court to resolve the confusion over who will take over as head of Kenya Tourism Board after conflicting appointments by Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo and Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia.

On October 25, Mwazo appointed Jacinta Nzioka as acting managing director of the tourism marketing body after the expiry of tenure of Muriithi Ndegwa.

This is despite a recommendation by the KTB board that Ndegwa be reappointed following the end of his three year term in office. Last week Kimemia reinstated Ndegwa, a move that irked the minister who responded by reversing the head of civil servants decision and reappointing Nzioka.

Yesterday, Kenya Tourism Federation-the umbrella body of all private business organizations within the industry- said it had started proceedings to seek for court intervention in the matter.

"We have filed court papers to get the impasse resolved," KTF chief executive Agatha Juma told the Star in a phone interview. She said attempts by the federation and some other industry players to meet with the minister over such matters have not yielded much.

"We have not been able to meet the minister for the longest time," she said. Chairman of Alliance of Regional Tourism Associations which represents the small players in the industry said the government officials must speak with same voice to avoid causing confusion.

However, he said that since the minister had only appointed Nzioka in an acting capacity as per the Tourism Act it is still too early to complain even though he noted that recent appointment procedures by Mwazo in other parastatals have been wanting.

Kenya Association of Women in Tourism which has backed Nzioka's appointment defended the minister's move adding that the Tourism Act "super cedes everything else."

"If there was no Tourism Act the head of civil service would have appointed an MD but the Act us very clear as to how it should be done and it states that an acting head can be named first after which the position is advertised and interviews conducted," said KAWT chairlady Faith Kithu.

"It is unfair and bad for the industry when one day she is appointed and the next she is removed." Kithu noted that the confusion was sending a bad message to the market and partners abroad.

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