BCP Member of Parliament for Okavango, Bagalatia Arone(R)
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Member of Parliament for Okavango, Bagalatia Arone has not seen eye-to-eye with his party leadership for a long time.
While the gripe among scores of young BCP cadres who ditched BCP for ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) expressed concern at the decision of the party to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Arone’s reasons are completely different as they border on alleged broken promises.
When Arone left teaching service to become active in the BCP and replace the late Joseph Kavindama in the constituency, he had hoped the party would do more for him in addition to giving him the opportunity to contest the parliamentary seat. Sources in the constituency point to the allegation that the MP had wanted the party to bankroll him financially at the time and this never came to pass. This has since been overtaken by events and Arone has been suspended from the BCP after he was linked with the ruling party.
The BCP publicity secretary Dithapelo Keorapetse through a statement accuses Arone of trying to recruit BCP members to join his expedition to the BDP. He points out that the MP has ceased participating in party activities hence his continued stay in the party could only hurt the party. The BDP has not made any solid comments on Arone’s eminent arrival at Tsholetsa House, but the BCP is convinced the Okavango legislator is leaving.
Since the 2014 general elections, Arone has not been paying the standard P800 subscription for MPs to the BCP and he has effectively boycotted all party activities. In a space of 19 months since the 2014 general election, Arone, had he not defected, could be owing the BCP P15 200. Among the many transgressions the MP was not even willing to meet with the BCP leadership.
After several months of procrastinating, it is evident that Arone has finally made a decision to quit Joseph Kavindama’s party. Arone was groomed by the late Kavindama and he inducted him into opposition politics. But his gripe with the BCP over the alleged broken promise has forced him to quit and join the BDP where he hopes to find financial freedom.
This publication learns that Arone phoned BCP President Dumelang Saleshando this week requesting for a meet up over the weekend. Saleshando confirmed that Arone called him and asked for a meeting. “I have agreed to meet him and hear him out,” said Saleshando.
All of Arone’s Councillors in the constituency have refused to become part of his shipment to the BDP but he has managed to convince his 2014 campaigns manager to join him. Among some of the reasons he shared with those he was trying to recruit was that the Okavango constituency is not being developed because the BDP is angry that people are voting the opposition. He allegedly said he was sacrificing himself by joining the ruling party against his conviction because he wants his people to be developed. “I am sacrificing myself for the benefit of the constituency,” he is alleged to have said. But those who are not amused by his turncoat approach to politics have pointed out that the defection could be financially motivated. They accuse the BDP of luring opposition activists with lucrative promises of businesses and access to financial help.
For his part Saleshando said his party remains strong and is unfazed by the defection. “We will go back to the people on the ground and share with them what transpired and take their views on the matter,” he said.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.