Lupita's Response to Balala Goes Viral

  • Actress Lupita Nyong'o (L) and Tourism CS Najib Balala
    Actress Lupita Nyong'o (L) and Tourism CS Najib Balala
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  • Kenyan award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o on Friday, January 22, responded to Tourism CS Najib Balala's claim that his ministry had tried to get in touch with Lupita for five years with little success.

    Though the actress did not directly indicate whether she had been contacted or not, she posted a photo alluding that she was surprised by Balala's remark.

    "Me when I hear the Kenyan Ministry of Tourism has been looking for me for five years," Lupita stated as she posted the photo below;

    Astonished photo posted by actress Lupita Nyong'o
    Astonished photo posted by actress Lupita Nyong'o
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    In an interview with a local newspaper, Balala alleged that Lupita's managers blocked Ministry of Tourism officials from accessing her for five years.

    "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. 

    Balala's response was prompted by the backlash from a section of Kenyans who wondered by the government had picked Campbell rather than Lupita.

    Kenya Tourism Federation Chair, Mohammed Hersi, disclosed that the 50-year-old model would not charge the Kenya Tourism Board for her services as Kenyans had assumed. 

    "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

    "When you reach Lupita’s level, agents run the show, they monetize every single move. Even the father who is Governor of Kisumu cannot use her image to promote the county,” he explained.

    Tourism CS Najib Balala (left) takes selfie with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the Coast.
    Tourism CS Najib Balala (left) takes selfie with supermodel Naomi Campbell at the Coast.
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