The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama has appointed his Permanent Secretary (PS) Neil Fit the new Chairman of Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) Board of Directors.
BTO, a parastatal set up to promote Botswana as a premier tourist destination of choice has been paralysed because it has been running without a board of directors for the past seven months.
Khama also filled BTO empty boardroom chairs with Lawrence Khupe, Thabo Thamane and Jonathan Gibson.
The new appointments saw the departure of the immediate past board chairman Victor Sennye, who has been assisted by Bifm Chief Executive Officer Tiny Kgatlwane, Dr. Susan Keitiumetse, Godfrey Kupe, and Gaylard Kombani. The board also consisted of the former Air Botswana CEO Sakhile Reiling who is based in South Africa.
BTO immediate past CEO Myra Sekgororoane for sometime has been reporting to the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism due to the absence of the BTO Board. Upon her end of employment contract last December, Khama appointed Brain Dithebe acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
As a parastatal, BTO is tasked to plan, develop and implement tourism marketing and promotion strategies for Botswana. Dithebe has been the BTO Director Projects and Business Operations before acting CEO.
BTO Board is a governing body appointed by the Minister for Environment Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama, responsible for providing guidance and direction and support at policy and strategic levels as necessary for management to discharge its duties as stipulated in the BTO Act.
The Organisation’s top post became vacant December 2013 after the departure of the tourism veteran Sekgororoane’s employment contract was not renewed after turning around the organisation for eight years.
BTO boardroom chairs got filled this year by new board of directors due to non renewal of contracts past immediate board members which were more than half of full board members including the immediate past Board chairman Senye.
Media speculation is that Wilderness Safaris executive, Sally Smith is tipped to take over the position of CEO at BTO.
Contacted for comment Tshekedi would neither confirm nor deny the appointment. In a terse response, the Minister said, “It will be communicated soon (appointments of BTO board).”
A former Permanent Secretary told Sunday Standard that government recently made it mandatory that permanent secretaries should not be board members of the boards. “I’m shocked by this appointment because permanent secretaries are not supposed to sit in parastatals’ boards,” he said.