Shakawe: Okavango Member of Parliament Bagalatia Arone who recently defected from Botswana Congress party to join the Botswana democratic Party has said he did not join the BDP by default saying his choice was a combination of his own decision and that of his family members.
Speaking at his launch in Shakawe at the weekend, he said although he grew up in the opposition after he was recruited by the late Joseph Kavindama, he decided to leave the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) as he could no longer serve under a “headless president.”
He said BCP President Dumelang Saleshando was still in denial of his 2014 parliamentary defeat.
Arone said this has affected the rank and file of the party including Vice President Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang and other veteran BCP members who contested and lost in the last general elections.
Arone said he still holds the late Kavindama in high regard saying he would have long joined the BDP if he was alive.
“His last words to me were that the people of Okavango and I should work hard and take this district to greater heights. This is exactly what I am doing. Remember Kavindama started at the BNF before moving to BCP,” said Arone.
“This alone shows he liked progression and wanted to work with like-minded people, otherwise he could have stayed at the BNF. I am no exception. So I have followed my heart by joining the BDP.”
Arone pointed out that throughout his debates in parliament while still at BCP, he used to receive a pat on the back and good feedback from BDP members who never ceased to question his wisdom of being an opposition member.
The MP also told of how he was once mocked and rebuked by members of the BCP after he was given a ride in a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) helicopter by President Ian Khama.
“The president was coming to Shakawe and I happened to be coming the same day and so I asked for a lift which I was offered. I didn’t find fault with that but I was called a sellout,” said Arone.
He added that “Khama is a great man. We had different opinions but he still listened when we appealed to him. It only takes a great leader to do that.”
He also confessed to having been part of BCP leaders who denied people the opportunity to enjoy schemes and government programmes offered by the government and made them believe they were petty projects or fraudulent.
Arone said he now realizes they (leaders) continue to enjoy the benefits of having their applications approved to the disadvantage of voters.
He gave an example of people in the opposition who benefited from CEDA loans, himself included. Contrary to allegations that the BDP was funding his businesses in Shakawe, he said his loan, which he applied for while still at BCP was only approved in 2015, hence the ongoing developments at his lodge in Shakawe.
Also speaking at the launch was former BCP youth leader and now member of BDP Lotty Manyapedza who confessed that while at BCP, he and other members used to ridicule Khama and the BDP.