By Milton Were
This is my take on the Naomi Campbell Saga. Dear Kenyans, some of you are falling over yourselves praising Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala for choosing Naomi Campbell as Kenya’s Tourism Ambassador. First of all, she starts of by praising Vipingo Ridge Golf Course. The likes of Balala. Amina Mohamed, and other rich politicians and rich Kenyans own luxury homes in Vipingo Ridge. Vipingo Ridge has a private beachfront several kilometres down along Vipingo. (When the Vipingo Ridge complex was under construction, I toured it and it took me over 2 hours to drive around the entire complex. The land had been earmarked for squatters since it was formerly KARI land. I was told that it is nearly 3,000 acres. One of my worker’s family lost 12 acres beyond Vipingo Ridge when the developers decided to expand the complex and dislocated families in that particular locality. To date many families, including my worker’s family, have bever been compensated for the loss of their land). Naomi Campbell will not be advertizing “local” Kenya but instead will be advertizing exclusive lodges, exclusive hotels and wildlife conservancies such as those in Laikipia, for the ultra-rich tourists who are not interested in knowing anything about the people of Kenya, except to be photographed next to “authentic”Kenyans – usually the Maasai people. It is extremely disconcerting to have a foreigner become Kenya’s Tourism Ambassador. Just because Naomi Campbell is black and a model makes absolutely no difference. And just because she is worth billions makes no difference. She is not Kenyan. We have many, many worthwile Kenyans who are capable of being Kenya’s Tourism Ambassadors. Neo-colonialism and neo-imperialism comes in many neatly-packaged forms.
Don’t talk to me about fact. I am part of the people in Kenya fighting wars that simplistic minds cannot see…..you don’t have any idea what is being pushed with what this represents and the bigger whole. I don’t have the time to educate you on this.