Botswana Congress Party (BCP)'s Daisy Bathusi is vying for the vice presidency (VP) where she is pitted against Bobonong legislator Taolo Lucas. Of course, the VP role comes with enormous expectations but if she prevails, Bathusi will have the opportunity to begin a new era for women in the opposition BCP.
She can define what it really is to be the first woman in the BCP vice presidency position, empowering women to pursue careers in politics and creating new precedents for other political parties.
While negatively purported adjectives often force female politicians to be defined by their gender, Bathusi revealed in an interview this week that the main challenge she faces is that, as women they, are already under prejudice by society before they even walk into the room.
“We are living in a patriarchal country where societal norms say that leadership roles are a preserve for men.
I thought my greatest challenge was to prove my capability to society. However, having stepped up it is not so much of a daunting task as I had imagined because there are a lot of men and women who have embraced the concept that women can lead,” she said.
Bathusi admitted that despite Botswana’s political landscape being male dominated,she doesn’t feel like a minion in a giants’ field but rather, the exact opposite. She further said that a female VP in the BCP on its own would be a big milestone for the gender movement she stands by. “I believe just standing for the elections was inspiring to a lot of women and a morale booster especially shortly after the BDP saga with Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi that played a huge part in dropping morale for aspiring women politicians. Going forward I’m going to push harder that all the policies that enable more participation of women in politics like the SADC Gender Protocol are ratified and domesticated,” she revealed.
When quizzed about a possibility of contesting for the BCP presidency in the future, Bathusi didn’t rule anything out.
“Never say never; this saying comes to play especially in politics. Currently I am primarily focused on my ongoing VP campaign. I believe I have a lot of work cut out for me in the VP position,” she indicated. In Botswana it is difficult for women in politics to come off as likable to voters, and consequently it becomes even harder for women to win votes over ‘likable’ men. Bathusi said she would also advocate for political education as she believes the local political landscape needs an informed voter. “One of the other laws that I will also be focusing my attention on, is the state funding of political parties, as apart from it being an enabler for women participation and leveling out the playing field, it would also be a mitigator against corruption in politics and state capture,” she further highlighted.
Looking back, Bathusi revealed that she was influenced to join politics mainly by the levels of poverty as well as the disparities between the poor and the rich; she wanted to be a part of the change. She said the inspiration of being the change she wanted to see was also instilled by her father’s unionism work, which introduced her to activism and advocacy for people’s rights at a tender age.
“I witnessed him leading the first strike of Botswana mine workers in Orapa, as the union’s first branch chairperson. My motivation for joining also dictated my choice of a political home to be within the opposition, as I invariably saw the BDP as the perpetrator of the challenges the country was facing,” she added. Bathusi also pointed out that what really kept her hooked onto the political game was knowing that she could do a lot more and fulfill the reasons she began.
In terms of visions with her party, Bathusi wants to see the BCP truly living up to the ‘party of choice’ slogan where it becomes a household name in Botswana and also a first point of call on national issues both from a media perspective as well as nationally and internationally.
“That would entail ensuring that the party’s presence in the country and internationally is not only visible but clearly audible too. My aspiration is to position the BCP strategically as a partner of choice within the opposition configuration and to be a key player towards the 2024 regime change agenda”.
Born in Serowe, she then grew up under her working-class parents in the mining town of to Orapa. She is the third of six children and for three years she went to Khama House Primary School where she was awarded a sponsorship by Debswana to Livingstone House Primary School that took her from Standard Four to tertiary.
She went St. Joseph’s College in Kgale and proceeded to Derby College in the United Kingdom. She later worked for Debswana for 23 years and left the latter in the 2010 to focus on a family business.
Bathusi’s interest in politics sparked and she joined the BCP in March 2011. She got married to her recently departed husband in 1999, who was her partner for 32 years of which 22 we were legally married and truly lived up to their ‘till death do us part’ vows. Bathusi has three children and two grandchildren.
In 2014, Bathusi unsuccessfully ran for parliamentary seat in the Boteti East constituency, while she was the BCP regional chairperson for the Boteti region (2012-2015). Between 2014 and 2019, Bathusi was the president of the BCP Women ́s League. She is currently the deputy secretary general of the Women ́s Academy for Africa (WAFA) and has since 2006 been the chairperson of the Botswana National Hospitality Standards Setting Task Team. She enjoys travel, spending time with friends and family and watching Netflix.