In any given day, Unity Dow, the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) parliamentary hopeful for Kgatleng West constituency is a marvel to watch in a debate. As the BCP begins its 2024 General Election campaign in earnest, Dow has been fortunate to be granted the first slot.
All roads lead to Rasesa on Saturday where she will be officially unveiled to the constituents, the public and other dignitaries by BCP president, Dumelang Saleshando. In a wide-ranging interview, Dow describes herself as "a fearlessly independent and not compromising woman on matters of justice and the rule of law". Her bravery was long displayed in the early 1990s when she single-handedly launched a successful litigation against government for discriminating against the womenfolk as it was legally not allowed to pass its citizenship to its children born of foreign fathers.
The Dow case judgment still remains one of the most celebrated and cited in many a constitutional case. Currently, tormented by a social media personae disguised in the name of France Museveni, Dow has unleashed her legal boxing gloves to take the troll head-on. In her own words, she says, "It is really unfortunate that a troll who, according to one is protected, is allowed to practise his despicable enterprise, without even the slightest push back from those we pay to protect us from such harm". An unrelenting Dow, a former judge of the High Court and Cabinet minister, swears that she will use the law to protect herself. "I expect that the courts will be pretty busy this year as we can expect political activists to cross the line as they respond to a rising mindset change that challenges the status quo," she avers as she takes her fight for protection to the courts' doorstep. To say the least, Dow is disappointed that the current government is doing literally nothing to unmask France Museveni and take appropriate action against him. To illustrate the point she says, when the public cries out about a rise in cattle theft, government immediately mobilises funds and resources to create or beef up Kgomo Khumo. But, "when a troll operates publicly, tags leaders, claims to be talking for the leadership, we see no action being taken to stop it. I will say no more as my position is spelt out in the case of Seboko versus Dow and the decision of the court is set for the 4th of March 2024", says Dow who is unfazed in her stride to dislodge the BDP in Kgatleng West constituency.
In terms of how Botswana has performed pertaining to the protection of fundamental human rights, she initially says it is a tough one but confesses that "our courts have been consistent in their interpretation of the Constitution. We can only be proud of our courts on that score". Dow, herself a proud mother and a farmer as well as business woman, describes her journey to the BCP from the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as marked by many meetings with key members of the party, amongst them party president Saleshando and former Kgatleng West Member of Parliament Isaac Mabiletsa. She says she first had to understand the BCP culture and ethos, and also their motivations behind joining and ultimately leaving the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). "I had to be sure that they believe in rules based decision-making," says Dow, herself a seasoned politician who is unapologetic and ready to soil herself in opposition politics, admitting quite frankly that she is now in a different political party, and an opposition political party for that matter. She is quite aware that she is joining opposition politics at a time that "Botswana nation is demanding change".