Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has revoked Pauline Njoroge’s appointment as a member of the Tourism Regulatory Authority board with immediate effect.
In a statement on Saturday, CS Balala said she had been replaced with Standard Group journalist Najma Ismail.
He explained that the ministry had just learned of her past remarks about the Nairobi National Park and could not associate itself with her.
For Ms Njoroge, the appointment was a case of so-near-yet-so-far as it was cancelled 24 hours after gazettement.
In the old, undated post that resurfaced on social media, Ms Njoroge called for the land the park sits on to be put to “better and more profitable use”.
The remark returned to haunt her, proving once again that the internet never forgets.
“… we have just seen what she tweeted in the past, that Nairobi National Park was useless. We do not want to be associated with such people and such thinking,” CS Balala said.
“The integrity of the park is very important and the government is committed to saving it and any other protected area which is the habitat for our national heritage – wildlife.”
CS Balala regretted that the ministry did not know about Ms Njoroge’s view, as it did not come during her background check, and thanked members of the public who used social media to highlight the issue.
Ms Njoroge is a Digital Media Strategist and Communication Officer at the NEPAD/APRM Kenya Secretariat under the State Department for Planning.
In her post, she questioned the sense in sustaining the park given that Nairobi is congested.
Below is a screengrab of what she wrote.
As soon as the Kenya Gazette with numerous parastatal appointments was published on Friday, Kenyans took to social media to highlight Ms Njoroge’s post.
She and many others landed three-year appointment to plum parastatal board positions.
Among them were Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat, former Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo, former assistant minister Kilemi Mwiria, former vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka’s son Kevin Muasy and former Nairobi Speaker Alex ole Magelo.
On Saturday, some members of the public opposed Ms Njoroge’s appointment while others opposed its revocation.
Via Twitter, one ‘Lord Abraham Mutai’ said, “This is just sad. Denying Pauline Njoroge a chance to serve Kenyans based on what she said a few months ago is unacceptable. People have opinions on diverse issues and people should be allowed to change their minds. This is just making decisions based on emotions.”
Joyline Chebet said it would be ironical to appoint to the board someone who does not believe in tourism.