Tourism, Wildlife, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary – Who is Penina Malonza?

Penina Malonza was appointed by President William Ruto as the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism. Prior to that, she was not known to many Kenyans. Who is Penina Malonza?

Penina comes from Itumba village, Kibwea Location in Mutomo Sub-County in Kitui South. She becomes the first Cabinet Secretary from the constituency since Independence. She was the first Deputy Governor of Kitui who served during Julius Malombe’s first term. They parted ways just before the 2017 general elections as she went to support David Musila.

Before she became deputy governor in 2013, Penina worked for Compassion International a Non-Governmental Organization that partners with local churches to sponsor needy children from 1993 to 2012. Before her resignation, she was the country director.

Penina was one of the women in Kitui who campaigned hard for President William Ruto and popularized the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party at the grassroots in a region that voted largely for Azimio. She was also a member of the task force of leaders from Kitui who were involved in the formulation of the South Eastern Economic blueprint.


In a past interview with Mauvoo News, Penina revealed that the UDA leaders from Ukambani had been meeting DP Ruto to deliberate on the South Eastern economic blueprint that was to be implemented if Ruto became president. The leaders disclosed then that they would be forming village committees in all the 40 wards of Kitui, which will work at the grassroots level to see the needs of the common mwananchi addressed.

Missed our earlier story on her role in the campaigns? check it out below;

In the Kitui Woman representative race, Penina who ran with the UDA ticket came second after Irene Kasalu of Wiper who was the incumbent. Kasalu got 201,889 votes while Penina garnered 78,783 votes getting the most votes compared to her fellow UDA leader Jonathan Mueke who was vying for Governor.

Missed our earlier story on the results for Women Rep in Kitui county? check it out below;

The tourism sector was among the worst-hit sectors in Kenya following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant containment measures including travel restrictions. The sector also did not feature prominently in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s big 4 agenda. Nevertheless, the sector has continued to recover gradually following the ease of travel restrictions.

The 2021 annual tourism sector performance report indicated that the number of international visitor arrivals to Kenya grew from 567,848 in 2020 to 870,465 in 2021, a 53% increase. Hon. Malonza is expected to rise up to the challenge of reviving what was once the most vibrant sector of the economy.

According to the World Travels and Tourism Council, the sector contributed 7.7% (Shillings 868.7 Billion) of the country’s GDP in 2019. This dropped to 3.9% in 2020 and modestly grow to 4.9% in 2021. In the 2022/23 budget, the Tourism Promotion Fund was allocated 1.8 Billion Shillings while the Tourism Fund is allocated 3.2 Billion Shillings The former Deputy Governor takes over from the long-time serving Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala.

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