12 May 2013

Zambia: ZAWA 'Takes Over' Munda Wanga

THE Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is in the process of taking over the running of Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens following reports that the facility is not well managed.

Highly-placed sources revealed to the Sunday Times that the take-over of the botanical gardens by ZAWA was imminent following a series of reports that the local tourist attraction had not been well-managed since investors took over in 1998.

An inventory of assets had since been concluded in what appears as a verification exercise.

But when contacted, ZAWA acting director general Xenophon Vlahakis, who could neither confirm nor deny the development, said the Authority would tomorrow hold a Press briefing where a number of issues, including that of Munda Wanga, would be discussed.

But the sources revealed that the decision to take over the local tourist attraction was reached after it was discovered that the current investors had failed to honour the Tourism Concession Agreement (TCA) signed in 1998.

"There are plans by ZAWA to take over the running of Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens. It may not be today or tomorrow but plans to do so are in the pipeline," one of the sources told the Sunday Times.

And sources within Munda Wanga confirmed that ZAWA was about to take over the running of the botanical gardens.

"Some people have told us that ZAWA is taking over the running of Munda Wanga. The decision to take over the running of this institution was recently reached although it was not stated when the take-over was likely to take place," one of the workers said.

Another source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Sunday Times that the take-over was a step in the right direction because the investors had at one point stated that they were tired of running the institution.

Government last year said investigations into the failure to honour the TCA by the current investors would be carried out.

According to the Government, a team of technocrats was to be constituted to carry out an audit and inventory at the local tourist attraction to establish how the assets at the facility had been handled since the current investors took over.

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