It has been a weekend to forget for the Botswana opposition parties as barely twenty-four hours after the Botswana Democratic Party scooped the coveted Letlhakeng West constituency, they received a bonus in the form of Botswana Congress Party’s Village ward councillor, Seabelo Thekiso.
Speaking in an interview after being welcomed to the BDP by the party’s central committee, Thekiso confirmed his resignation from the BCP.
“I am no longer a member of the Botswana Congress Party and I am happy with my decision to leave the party,” he said.
Thekiso says he was not happy with the direction the BCP had taken but could not be drawn into discussing the exact reasons that led to his decision to jump ship.
“I needed something different, something new and I believe I have found it here at the BDP,” he said.
Questioned on his stance regarding the BCP’s refusal to join the opposition coalition (UDC), Thekiso says he believes the BCP would have been better off had they joined the umbrella but could not say whether it informed his decision to leave the Party.
He says he has no intention to contest for political office come 2014 general elections.
“ The decision has nothing to do with the fact that I have only just joined a new party; I made the decision not to stand a long time back, in 2012,” he says.
The councillor added that he had long thought about leaving the BCP and believes it was the right decision.
“We received the resignation letter early this morning (Monday) at our office and it was followed by some BDP members who had come to brag about receiving Thekiso, one of our members,” said BCP’s Publicity Secretary, Taolo Lucas, confirming Thekiso’s defection.
Lucas says they were not surprised about the councillor’s resignation as they had noticed for some time that he had seized to take part in party activities.
“We wish him all the luck,” he said.
On the chances of regaining the Village ward seat in the next general elections, Lucas believes Thekiso’s departure will not dent the party’s chances.
“We are the least bothered about losing the ward,” he said. “We have the organisational capacity to regain the ward come 2014.”
In a statement released Monday, the BDP said:
“We are pleased to welcome to the Botswana Democratic Party Hon Councillor Seabelo Ignatius Thekiso, currently member of Gaborone City Council, Gaborone Central – Village Ward.
Councillor Thekiso was also the Secretary General of the BCP Youth League (BCPYL).
We welcome Councillor Seabelo Ignatius Thekiso on behalf of the entire membership of the Botswana Democratic Party.”
Thekiso’s joining of the BDP shifts the scale of numbers in the Gaborone City Council as it brings the total number of BDP Councillors to 18 against a combined total of 17 opposition councillors.