Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) Chair Ezekiel Mutua on Friday evening, January 22, accused award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o of disrespecting Tourism CS Najib Balala.
In a statement, Mutua indicated that Lupita’s remark was totally inappropriate and uncalled for.
“She should have picked her phone and just say ‘Waziri, I am here. I am ready to serve my country.’ Being a global icon should come with some loyalty to your country and respect for elders!”
Lupita appears on the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine, September 2019 issue.
Balala alleged that his ministry had unsuccessfully tried to get in touch with Lupita for five years.
His response was prompted by the backlash from a section of Kenyans who wondered why the government had picked Naomi Campbell rather than Lupita for the role of Magical Kenya International Tourism ambassador.
“I know everybody is asking why not Lupita (as Kenya’s tourism goodwill ambassador). She has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for her,” Balala explained.
The CS added that Naomi Campbell, who was recently selected as the Magical Kenya International Tourism ambassador, was available and bought into the idea of marketing Kenya as a tourist destination.
In a rejoinder, the actress laughed off the statement and accompanied the remark with a photo of the actress laughing ironically.
“Me when I hear the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for five years,” Lupita stated.
Kenya Tourism Federation Chair Mohammed Hersi had implied that Campbell was not charging the Kenya Tourism Board for her services.
“If we were to pay Naomi, she would wipe a good chunk of our destination marketing budget. Those who think we paid millions to get her…I can bet we paid nothing and all this is personal goodwill from Tourism CS Najib Balala,” said Hersi.
Tourism CS Najib Balala with British Model Naomi Campbell in Kenya on January 12, 2021