Member of Parliament for Maun West Tawana Moremi has threatened to have a warrant of arrest issued against the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism if the minister fails to appear before the Botswana Guides Association (BOGA) again.
Tawana Moremi also a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee uttered the threats after Minister Mokaila failed yet again to address BOGA in conjunction with the parliamentary committee on burning issues pertaining to his ministry on several occasions
“Except upon the directive of the president, no public officer shall refuse to give evidence before the committee, relating to the correspondence of any civil department or to any matter affecting the public and Mokaila is no exception. We will ask for a warrant of arrest,” said Tawana much to the delight of the committee members recently.
The Parliamentary committee members together with officials from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism were supposed to give feedback to BOGA regarding a consultative meeting that took place in April.
Mokaila who was expected to address or send his subordinates to address members of the (BOGA) did not attend the meeting much to the disappointment of both BOGA and the parliamentary committee.
Pressing issues that were to be discussed included cessation of gathering of firewood in National Parks and Game Reserves as well as park fees.
However with Mokaila and his officers absent the Chairperson of the committee, Frank Ramsden said that there was very little information to share as everything was still under discussion at Mokaila’s ministry. “Park fees have not yet been implemented as the research on how it will affect the industry is still on.”
Ramsden asked BOGA to come up with a proposal for percentage increase so that government does not indorse its own percentage. He said that the issue of firewood collection will be re-visited because some people have a tendency of burning down trees so that they can collect them at a later stage.
Meanwhile BOGA chairperson Kenson Kgakge accused Minister Mokaila of applying double standards when it comes operating procedures for locals in the tourism industry in the Delta versus foreign based companies.
He charged that locals have been denied land to operate on while a company that is run by an expatriate was recently allocated land in the delta contrary to what they were told was government procedure. “The company put something like a lodge in the safaris for three months while we are given only a day or two and we do not know how Mokaila’s ministry decided to award that company such a licence,” complained Kgakge.
Mokaila once remarked at the beginning of the year during a Tourism Pitso in Gaborone that he was not going to attend to any of BOGA issues unless they merged with Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana(HATAB) so it is yet to be seen if Tawana’s threats carry would carry any weight.
Efforts to get a comment from the minister’s office drew a blank.