Wilderness Safaris general manager, Sally Smith is tipped to take over the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO).
There is no substantive CEO following the departure of Myra Sekgororoane whose contract was not renewed. It is alleged that the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has since considered Smith for the post. The speculation surrounding the appointment of Smith comes at a time when there is fear that top elites have plans of consolidating the tourism industry and putting it into their hands.
Wilderness Safaris is associated with political elites among them President Ian Khama who is a shareholder. Contacted for comment Tshekedi Khama said he has not appointed a substantive CEO, saying so far there is an acting CEO. “I have not appointed anyone so far, Brian Dithebe is still acting,” he said. However Khama refused to comment on claims that he has appointed Smith for the post. He could not even entertain questions regarding Smith.
“I have answered your question, so I cannot answer any other question,” he said. Smith also denied being appointed to the post, saying she has never seen the advertisement. However she confirmed that she was aware of rumours that she is taking over. “This is quite distressful really, we have heard those rumours,” she said adding that as far as she knows, there is no substantive CEO and an advert will be floated advertising the post.
The BTO is not without controversy, it is currently operating without a Board of Directors due to non renewal of contracts of more than half of board members including the Board Chairman Victor Senye. The BTO top post became vacant after the contract of Sekgororoane was not renewed.
There were reports that Sekgororoane and Tshekedi had differences which rendered their cooperation difficult.. The position was advertised by Human Resource Management Consultancy (HRMC) last year December.