NAIROBI, 24 January 2021 – Kenyan Oscar-winning Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o has laughed away claims by Kenya’s tourism minister that she was unreachable for the last five years.
Ms. Nyong’o posted a photo of herself, wide-eyed and laughing hard on Twitter.
Her message to the minister was: “Me when I hear the Kenya Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for five years”.
She added two hashtags that read: “I am right here baby” and “alternative facts”.
Kenya’s tourism minister, Najib Balala, had used the pretext of her being “unreachable” to explain why he had named British model Naomi Campbell as Kenya’s international tourism ambassador.
Many Kenyans on social media had proposed that Nyong’o be given the position.
“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,” Nation newspaper quoted Balala as saying.
We tried but failed to make contact with Ms. Nyong’o, Balala has continued to insist.
Balala has publicly admitted that he has come under fire from many Kenyans who questioned why he passed off a person they believe would have been ideal – even the perfect choice for the position – in favor of someone else.
Many Kenyans on social media joked that it was a reminder of the saying none is a prophet in their homeland.
Ms. Campbell plays the role on a pro bono basis and Kenya’s tourism ministry is working out details on how exactly she would use her influence to promote Destination Kenya.
The Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Films Classification BoardEzekiel Mutua tried, Friday, to cover for Balala, describing Nyong’o’s “sarcastic response” as disrespectful to Balala.
Mutua claimed that Lupita Nyong’o’s response embarrassed Kenya.
“Being a global icon should come with some loyalty to your country and respect for elders!” Mutua tweeted.