Peninah Malonza: My stage fright moment during vetting

Tourism Cabinet nominee Peninah Malonza has revealed she had a stage fright moment during her vetting by Committee of Appointments last week.

Ms Malonza said she experienced unusual anxiety while responding to a barrage of questions from MPs during the vetting process televised live and presided over by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula.

Speaking after the National Assembly voted to overturn a committee’s decision rejecting her nomination, she said she had sigh of relief while thanking Kenyans for tremendous messages of support, encouragement and goodwill.

Speaking with the Nation, the former Deputy Governor in Kitui County described her vetting experience as unusually panicky.

“That was unlike me. Those I have worked with know that I’m always confident when speaking before cameras, having served as Deputy Governor and ran for elective politics three times,” said Ms Malonza.

She said her stage fright moment with MPs is not a manifestation of her academic and leadership competencies adding that she is up to the task assigned by President William Ruto.

“I may have lost my composure and confidence at the hot seat but that doesn’t, in any way, reflect my solid competencies. I want to assure Kenyans that I will not let down my beloved country Kenya in my role as Tourism CS,” said Ms Malonza.

Her Bachelor’s degree, she disclosed was on Anthropology – the study of human societies and cultures and their development – which she says is relevant to the Tourism, Wildlife and Culture docket.

Baptism by fire

Ms Malonza thanked Parliament for overturning the committee’s recommendations saying the two days since being dropped from the committee’s approval list has sharpened her for the challenges in driving the recovery of Kenya’s Tourism sector.

“It was real baptism by fire. Kenyans will now see the lioness in me through unmatched performance in my docket,” she said.

Ms Malonza, who will be taking over from outgoing Tourism CS Najib Balala, is the first Cabinet appointee from Kitui South constituency.

Born in 1974, in Kibwea location of Kitui South, Ms Malonza, a former senior executive with Compassion International – a non-governmental organisation – is best known for the five years she served as Kitui deputy governor between 2013 and 2017 under Governor Julius Malombe.

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