- He thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta and late President Mwai Kibaki for the ministerial job.
- He said he is optimistic about the good management of the Kenya Wildlife Service by the team that he has built over the last 10 years.
Tourism CS Najib Balala has hinted he will venture into private business after the August 9 general election.
Balala, who has served as Tourism Cabinet Secretary for two terms of the Jubilee government, said he is leaving behind a strong and vibrant team.
On Sunday, the CS, who presided over his last official function, said he is optimistic about the good management of the Kenya Wildlife Service by the team he has built over 10 years.
He spoke during the World Rangers Day celebrations at the KWS Law Enforcement Academy in Manyani, Taita Taveta county.
Balala said he has learned and developed a strong passion for tourism and conservation, a practice that he says will be useful in his future engagements.
“I have no doubt about the people I am leaving behind. It is one of the best teams in the country,” Balala said.
He noted that the KWS management had performed exceptionally well during his tenure.
He lauded the rangers for their commitment to conservation and for placing Kenya on the global map as a tourism destination.
“This is a natural capital for the country. Through KWS, Kenya has been a pioneer in conservation. I celebrate you as I exit,” the CS said.
The CS who donned the KWS uniform narrated how he navigated through the muddy waters in the fight against poaching, an operation that nearly cost his job.
“When I came in, some people fought me so hard. However, I developed a mechanism to pursue the course. I am walking out a proud man because my team and I prevailed,” he said.
He said that he has enjoyed a good working relationship with Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein and KWS director general Brig (Rtd) John Waweru.
Further, the CS acknowledged the collaboration between KWS and the Kenya Defence Force that has seen the military undertake different projects at the agency.
He disclosed that through the collaboration, KDF has committed to desilt the Aruba dam and construct a bridge at Tsavo West National Park.
Other projects include the construction of a riffle ridge at the KWS Academy in Manyani, among other construction works at Longonot, Hells Gate and Lake Nakuru conservancies.
The CS also thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for tasking him to head the crucial ministry and former President Mwai Kibaki, whom he said introduced him to the Cabinet.
Hussein recognised the conservation and protection role played by rangers, further pledging the government’s support to ensure better wildlife conservation.
“Rangers are our conservation heroes, champions who are passionate and patriotic. I commend our rangers for placing Kenya on the global map as a world leader in the conservation of biodiversity, particularly the endangered species,” she said.
Waweru announced they have developed a training curriculum at the Law Enforcement Academy to ensure better training of rangers.
“KWS together with the newly created Wildlife Research & Training Institute is creating a link with KWS to build the capacity of KWS officers from certificate level all the way to diploma and above,” he said.
He lauded the CS for supporting the conservation agency to stay afloat despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of the KWS staff let me say asante sana," Waweru said.
(Edited by Tabnacha O)