Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala elicited mixed reactions from a section of Kenyans and President-elect William Ruto’s allies after he openly declared that he was willing to serve the incoming administration.
Balala on Friday, September 9, Balala expressed interest in working in Ruto’s government adding that he was willing to work in any capacity.
“I am happy and humbled and I thank President Uhuru Kenyatta for giving me the chance to serve the nation. I welcome President Ruto and I am ready to serve in his government whenever it’s necessary,” he stated.
However, his sentiments drew ire from Ruto’s diehard and Kapsaret Member of Parliament, Oscar Sudi, and lawyer Miguna Miguna who accused him of shifting his allegiance.
In response to Balala, Sudi shared an old clip where the CS openly criticised the Kenya Kwanza team led by Ruto who had criticised CSs for participating in campaigns. “Lest we forget,” Sudi captioned the video.
On the other hand, Miguna opined that the CS had served in the government for so many years and it was time for him to take a back seat.
“To my friend Balala, you are not the only Kenyan who was born to serve as cabinet secretary for tourism. You have held that position for more than 15 years. That’s enough. Move on. Retire. Find something else to do. There are 35 million unemployed Kenyans,” he stated.
However, other Kenyans had differing opinions as they congratulated the CS for expressing his willingness to work with the incoming administration.
“I like this guy. His allegiance is to the government and not to parties. He knows how to survive and thrive in any environment. He is focused on his role,” Bernard Otieno opined.
In particular, a section of online users commended him for calling out the four Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners led by vice chairperson Juliana Cherera for dissenting against the presidential results announced on August 15.
“The likes of team Cherera must be brought to book. It is not vengeance but order in the public interest,” Balala supported a petition filed in Parliament to oust Cherera, Justus Nyanga’ya, Irene Masit and Francis Wanderi.
Notably, Balala was the first Cabinet Secretary under President Kenyatta’s administration to publicly congratulate Ruto on his election as president-elect.
Balala was appointed to to the Cabinet in 2013 by Uhuru and served for two terms in the Jubilee administration.