The Minister of Environment tourism and Wildlife Minister, Tshekedi Khama has dismissed reports that he has applied for a piece of prime land in Gaborone’s Block 7 in his personal capacity.
He said it is his ministry that wants the plot.
Khama was commenting on reports that his intention, after acquiring the plot as a private citizen, is to build some tourism resorts which are expected to be a huge money spinner for him and other tourism big shots.
When contacted on Friday for a comment, the Minister said his Ministry applied for the land officially, adding that no one had applied for it in his or her capacity as a private citizen.
“It was from one Ministry to another (Ministry of Tourism making an application to Ministry of Lands and Housing). The application was made by Minister Kitso Mokaila while he was still heading the Tourism Ministry. What is left now is to conclude a few things,” he said.
Khama said the intention is to build a tourism cultural centre adding that the piece of plot is next to the Diamond Park in Gaborone.
“Yes it is true that the Ministry has already requested for that piece of land for tourism development. We want to develop it so that Gaborone also becomes some sort of tourism destination,” he said.
For its part, BTO said Botswana Economic Advisory Council Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth Action Plan outlined key activities or initiatives that have to be implemented to set Botswana on the right path on economic diversification and sustainable growth.
“Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MEWT) was assigned an Action Point to; Promote cultural tourism and establish new cultural facilities for use by communities and cultural groups, stage major art and cultural events in Gaborone with assistance from business and government in order to increase the cosmopolitan character of the capital city,” BTO acting Chief Executive Officer Thabo Dithebe. ┬á
He said the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism through BTO and Department of National Museums and Monuments therefore conceptualized a national initiative of the development of world class tourism facilities which include the Botswana Diamond Pavilion and ancillary facilities.
“The development is envisioned to offer amongst others a virtual discovery tour of Botswana ÔÇô a country of infinite possibilities and vast natural resources to visitors in the capital city of Gaborone which has upgraded its status to being the diamond hub of the world,” said Dithebe.
He said the project will be implemented as partnership between government and business or private sector.
“The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism through BTO and National Museums and Monuments will facilitate this process. Against this background therefore, the Ministry has intention to apply for land for the project in Gaborone, and Block 7 NOT Block 8,” he said.