Reliable sources from Nairobi have just confirmed that Mrs. Jacinta Nzioka-Mbithi, until now the organization’s Director of Marketing, has been appointed by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala as Acting Chief Executive of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), following Muriithi Ndegwa’s second term of office having come to an end yesterday. She will hold the position for the time being while the Board of KTB is now embarking on the recruitment of a new substantive CEO.
Muriithi, well respected in the Kenyan tourism industry and equally so regionally and internationally, served two terms after initially being appointed in October 2009. He ran into temporary problems with Balala’s successor in office (Balala served as Tourism Minister in the Kibaki coalition government until falling out with his despotic party leader Raila Odinga over party internal democracy issues) in 2012, with Dan Mwazo, who sought to replace him with a crony. This in turn prompted calls from the industry for Mwazo, by then entirely alienated from the tourism sector, to be sacked at the time, as support rallied behind Muriithi who subsequently won a court case against Mwazo to the delight of the tourism industry.
Jacinta brings 10 years or tourism marketing experience with her into the new office, after she served as Regional Marketing Director for Europe before being posted at the KTB head office as Marketing Director. She also serves on the board of Ecotourism Kenya and is a founder member of the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism, in short KAWT.
Balala, when making the announcement, heaped praise on outgoing CEO Muriithi Ndegwa, who in spite of some of the most difficult years for the Kenyan tourism industry over the past three years, kept his focus on popularizing Kenya in the region and further abroad and strongly supported the domestic tourism rollout.
Having known Muriithi since his initial appointment, this correspondent takes the opportunity to thank him for his forthright and media-friendly disposition which made for an exceptional relationship and allowed for close up, accurate, and timely reporting.
All the best in the coming months to Jacinta, equally well known to this correspondent, who will no doubt stay the course mapped out by KTB for intensified marketing and sales missions in existing, new, and emerging markets with special emphasis on the Eastern African region and the African continent.