•Insist Arone will be welcomed at Okavango
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have vehemently denied allegations that they bought Okavango Member of Parliament, Bagalatia Arone.
The wide-held belief amongst members of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is that Arone’s recent switch from the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to the BDP was primarily down to a lucrative loan he received from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA).
However, the ruling party has dismissed the accusations as ‘bitter’, claiming that losing such a high-profile member has left the opposition ‘distressed’.
BDP’s Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane was particularly scornful of the UDC’s claims, labelling them ‘self-serving propaganda’.
Ntuane claimed the Okavango MP switched allegiances because he felt he could serve his constituents better while at the BDP.
The Secretary General did admit, however, that, as is every Motswana’s right, Arone did successfully apply for a CEDA loan for his hospitality project.
“The nation ought to know that many other opposition activists have also benefited from government empowerment schemes, such as CEDA. They have never been discriminated against because BDP runs an equal opportunity government for all citizens,” said Ntuane, citing the examples of former opposition MPs Joseph Kavindama, Gibson Nshimwe and John Toto who have benefited from CEDA loans in the past.
“If the honourable Arone qualified for CEDA he would have obtained assistance even if he hadn’t joined the BDP,” maintained Ntuane firmly.
Ever since his defection, Arone has come under intense scrutiny and criticism from his former comrades, with Botswana National Front Youth League President (BNFYL) President, Richard Khumoekae, describing him as ‘a traitor’.
BCP Vice President, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang, remains convinced that Arone’s move was facilitated by his CEDA loan, which the Okavango MP used to buy the Hawk Guest House and upgrade it to a lodge.
“I personally went to see the place and have slept in it before. A lot of developments are going on there! When I inquired, they said they are increasing the number of rooms. So, to my mind, there is no doubt that Arone was bought on credit,” insisted Gobotswang.
Meanwhile the BDP are currently working hard on structures in the Okavango area to welcome Arone in his constituency under their colours.
This, according to the party, is meant to silence any notion that their new recruit is unpopular and does not have the region’s support.