Member of Parliament for Okavango Bagalatia Arone’s cosy relationship with President Ian Khama is said to be setting tongues wagging among Botswana Congress Party (BCP) members in his constituency. Information gathered by this publication has revealed that some councillors and party elders in the tourist prime area are worried by Arone’s relationship with Khama. “Sometimes they come together in the chopper and Arone hangs a lot with the president when he [Khama] is in this area more than BDP members do. Knowing how strategic Khama is, he might or has already convinced him to join BDP, ’’ said one BCP councillor preferring not to be named. Another councillor who also refused to be named said that their MP is not only close to Khama but BDP cadres, a development that concerns the BCP members in the constituency.
It is said that party elders have warned him about his closeness to the ruling party. Not wanting to be caught off guard, they approached Sam Kavindama, relative to their former MP Joseph Kavindama to step forward and prepare to challenge Arone. According to the source, they suspect that the youthful MP will defect just before the 2014 general elections, “we have heard that and knowing how Khama can be manipulative we are not taking chances with Arone’.’During the Education Pitso last year in Palapye, education minister Pelonomi Venson - Moitoi revealed that Arone was the only opposition who stood by her during the industrial action. “Even some of my colleagues in BDP where pointing accusing fingers at me, Arone told me he is against the boycotting of classes by teachers’’ she said.
Called for comment, Arone admitted that he usually accompanies the president during kgotla meetings in his area, “It is my responsibility as the area MP to accompany the president and I don’t see anything wrong in doing that.” On riding in the chopper with number one citizen, he rebutted that and said that the rumour is spread by some disgruntled councillors in his constituency. “They have connived with some BMD cadres to tarnish my reputation. I never came to the constituency in a chopper.’’ He brushed aside speculation that he is planning to leave the BCP for BDP and said he will remain a BCP member for life. “No matter what.” On whether he is aware that Kavindama has been approached to challenge him, Arone registered ignorance but said that he thrashed him in the party primaries in 2008, so he is not worried about his challenge.
For his part, Kavindama said that he cannot comment on whether he will challenge his 2008 nemesis. Arone won the constituency after humbling Vister Moruti of BDP by a historic opposition margin of about 2000 voters.