NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says he regrets his outburst during Monday’s press conference where he is quoted as telling unnamed persons “to go to hell.”
He told the National Assembly’s Environment Committee that his outburst was directed at a section of social media users who he claims have launched a plot to assassinate his character following the death of 10 rhinos which had been translocated to Tsavo East National Park.
He says he has been pained by the deaths and blames the failure of his ministry’s systems to act quickly to avert the deaths.
“People need explanations about the rhinos… people are angry. I am also angry; I feel let down by my system that did not act quickly to stop the death of the rhinos. That pain is not only to the Kenyans or to those people who are after my blood but also to myself, I am pained over the loss of the 10 rhinos and people who have used this to character assassinate me on something I have tried to be clear and transparent as I should be.”
“As a human being I apologise. I have emotions and I reacted. I have a lot of respect of Kenyans,” he said.
Balala says he is remorseful for dragging President Uhuru Kenyatta’s name into the matter.
“I have done my best in all the portfolios I have held. In this one, I am going to put in my heart, soul, knowledge and experience to change the sector.”
“It is clear there was some negligence during the translocation,” he said.
The CS has been under pressure since the 10 rhinos died after being relocated from Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks to the Tsavo East National Park.
Balala has since suspended six officials of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) because of “unacceptable professional negligence.”
He spoke as the Orange Democratic Party MPs led by its Secretary General Edwin Sifuna has demanded the resignation of the CS for disrespecting Kenyan tax payers.
“Secretary-General wants Tourism CS Najib Balala to resign for being disrespectful to taxpayers who are demanding him to take responsibility for the death of 10 rhinos recently relocated to the Tsavo National Park,” read a statement on the party’s Twitter account.