Mochudi West Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Parliamentary Candidate Dr Unity Dow fields questions from The Voice readers.
Q. Checks MphoSelato: What are your intentions for the youth in Artesia?
A. The question is too broad. If the question relates to the economic prospects of the youth in the village my view is that the village has a great potential for growth.
There are clusters of villages that must begin to plan together if growth can be agitated and these are Artesia, Dikgonnye, Kgomodiatshaba, Budingwane, Khurutshe, Dibete, Leshibitse and Mookane. Harnessing this potential is possible but requires some thinking outside the box….
Q. Kaone Motegele: What motivated you to join partisan politics?
A. It was the obvious next step in my life. It was the next “growth point” in my career.
What else could I possibly do? Take up knitting?
Q. Maryjane Jane: Madam Unity Dow, what change/impact will you make in the development of this country if you can win?
A. Whether it’s me or someone else, the country, Africa, the world…your family, your village…. needs to be governed or led.
I believe that I have the experience and the education to contribute to national leadership.
What I will change will depend on what you tell me to change as well what my colleagues (who too will come to the leadership table with their respective mandates) will say …how much it will cost…
what other competing demands will be there. In short, I cannot promise you that I will build bridges, first I must establish that there are rivers and that you need to cross to the other side.
Q. Lesego Otsile: Is the BDP in support of the rights of the LGBTI of Botswana?
A. I do not believe there is a BDP policy on LGBTI. Like I do not believe that any of the other political parties has such a policy.
What I do know is that it is a comment on our democracy that this group of people has amassed the courage to demand to be heard.
Q. Baliki Chakalisa: What should we expect from you as the youth?
A. What do you want as the youth? Youth issues, as I see it are education, jobs, up-ward mobility.
The world has been hard for many in the last six or so years.
What I know is that every adult has been a youth and while many of the issues for today’s youth have changed many remain the same.
Give adults some credit; they are not as clueless as it is often suggested.
What we do need to do is to listen so that we can appreciate how things have changed and how you say solutions can be found.
Every five years we have elections so that citizens can re-new the leaders’ mandate to lead and/or to issue new mandates.
This gives the “new” leaders a chance to review laws, policies and structures and to re-tailor them according to new demands.
It will be my job, as a parliamentarian, to evaluate your demands and to consider whether and how any legislative, policy and/or structural reforms are required.
What I can say us that I have the training and experience to serve you.
Q. Onana Cindy Malefho: Something new and different you are bringing to the parliament and the people who will vote you?
A: I am bringing many years of experience as a legal expert, manager of various entities, grass-roots activists, human rights defender, farmer, etc.
While this is not exactly bringing anything “new” to parliament, I will be new to parliament and for our constituency that is a plus.
Mochudi West needs a “new old voice”, meaning an old voice in a new space. For the people who will vote for me, I ask them to consider what it is they consider paramount in their lives.
I am sure many will say jobs, jobs, and jobs.
Q. Thato Lebe Phofedi: What are your intentions as a BDP member about graduates who do not find jobs?
A. Jobs, jobs, jobs…that is of course what is the minds of many.
I will not promise to create jobs out of thin air…but it is a fact that graduates need a mind-set change as a degree does not lead to a job as it used to during our times.
The problem is not a Botswana problem, but a world-wide one.
In some countries young people move from one degree to another…just to remain in school in the hopes that things will change.
Q. Keitumetse Ditsala: What convinced you to join politics under the BDP banner having been so critical of them?
A. I was never critical of the BDP as such I was critical (at different times in my life, depending on whether I could ethically do so) of government; which comprises the judiciary, the executive and parliament.
The executive has always been BDP (which employs civil servants – some BDP, others opposition parties) and parliament has always been BDP and opposition parties.
I challenged all the three arms at different times in my more than 30 years as a lawyer and at all times employed appropriate means to do so.
AND a democracy is made up of a chorus of different voices; it must be, or it is not a democracy.
Q. Borakie Msotho: What is your plan to really change Botswana?
A. I do not claim to hold a magic wand. All I claim is that I have the experience and training to contribute to the leadership of Botswana through being a member of parliament.
The primary job of parliament is to make laws and I am qualified to do so.
Q. Thato Monau: Wow! She is quiet an achiever. I would ask her to advice aspiring young women out there who have hopes and dreams of making it big professionally.
A. The first rule of success is: “Take yourself seriously because if you do not, no one else will”.
Q. Sane BK Sane: Given the fact that Mochudi is an opposition based constituency, what other good plans and intentions does she have that can change the minds of BAKGATLA to believe that BDP has all that it takes to make Mochudi West a better and livable place especially for the youth?
A. Mochudi is NOT a an opposition based constituency. The current MP for Mochudi West was voted in as a BDP member of parliament.
Q. Meraps Botsegad: How are you going to help resolve the chieftaincy issue at Kgatleng?
A. The chieftainship issue in Kgatleng will be resolved by BaKgosing and Bakgatla in the manner that they have resolved similar issue in the past; not me.
Q. Bame Felicia Montiti: Why did you change your career from a Judge to useless politics?
A. I am not sure that the making of laws and policies, the creation of structures and entities and the apportionment of national funds’ for the running, managing and overseeing of a country can be called “useless”.
Q. Keotshephile Kenosi: Why did you join the BDP?
A. I joined the BDP because I am convinced that its philosophy and ideals; which have brought Botswana from the second poorest country in the world (after Bangladesh) to a middle-income country are worthy of associating with.
Q. Tudu Tladi: What does she think of Botswana’s citizenship law? Will you stand for Batswana to be free to have citizenship of other countries without losing that of Botswana?
A. Dual citizenship is the way many countries are going and there is a reason for that. England has always recognized dual citizenship and there is a benefit to the “mother” country.
Two of the original reasons for a single citizenship or allegiance to a single country had to do with tax and preparedness to go to war for that country.
Those two considerations are not compelling any more.
Tax laws have changed significantly and a country does not expect to be financed by its citizens only.
As for “preparedness to fight” there are a few countries that still or would even want, to force anyone to go to war in its defence on the basis of their citizenship.
The old notion of sovereignty has changed and continues to change.
Some countries are beginning to realize that when its citizens take up new and additional nationalities, they continue to retain a close relationship with their blood relatives and send money “home” and continue a beneficial relationship with “home” while having the stability to work in the acquired country.
England knew this a long time ago and used it to its advantage.
The answer is that I support dual citizenship but I do know that it is not the most important issue in the minds of many Batswana.