Meet BCP First Lady Dineo Saleshando

Meet BCP First Lady Dineo Saleshando


She is the only contender for the position of First lady of Botswana.

That is if BCP was to win the elections in October and his husband was to become the president of this country.

Besides being the wife of a president of a political party, Dineo is remarkable woman in her own right.

She recently opened up in an interview with The Voice at her posh house in the suburbs of Phakalane.

This how the interview went:

Q: Good afternoon madam. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Good afternoon to you too Mmika. I am Dineo Saleshando. I was born and raised in Mochudi. I did all my schooling in Mochudi. I am 38 years old.

Q: When did you complete your schooling in Mochudi?

It was in 1992, when I completed my form five at Molefi Senior Secondary School. From there I went to do my Tirelo Sechaba (national service) at Ministry of Home affairs in Gaborone. In 1994 I enrolled at University of Botswana for a BA in Accounts and Economics.

Q: It must have been easy to get a job those days wasn’t it?

During our time at varsity things were a little relaxed and easier. I had a job offer whilst still studying. Cash Bazaar Holdings offered me a job even though I worked for a month with them because Standard Chartered Bank was also interested in my services.

Q:  I am told you are a banker is that where you started your banking career?

My professional banking career started at Standard Chartered bank. However, I left them because I felt the pay was too little. I then joined Mascom which I also left for FNB.

Q:  You also left FNB.

That is true. I moved to Barclays Bank as head of retail and risk for 3 years and 6 months.

Q:  And you moved to another bank?

(Laughs) An opportunity came to set up Banc ABC as Head of retail and SME Banking.

Q:  Now where do you work?

Standard Chartered Bank as Head of Retail, Credit for Policy for Southern Africa.

Q:  You are in-love with the banking industry. I have read in the media that you are harbouring a dream of starting your own bank some day. Is that true?

In 2012 I took a sabbatical leave from my work. Together with 5 of my acquaintances we tried to set up a bank. A citizen owned bank. It was going to be the first of its kind in the country. Unfortunately our license was rejected by the Bank of Botswana.

Q:  Why?

The banking act requires that we should have technical expertise on running a bank. They required that we should partner with an already established bank. We refused as we did not want to dilute the dream of having a citizen owned bank.

Q:  Who were the shareholders?

Bank of Botswana knows them. We were five. I can’t reveal their names to you without their consent.

Q:  Why because one of them was said to be a Khama?

For the record none of the Khama’s or Seretse’s were involved in the said transaction. I am glad you have asked me that question. Because there was a lot of noise at the time I wanted to open a bank. I was accused of things I didn’t do.

Q:  Is that so?

The Khama family has never interacted with me at any point in my life. I just see them on television and newspapers. I was accused of having tea with the enemy. Little did I know that as a wife of a politician I am not free to associate with other members of society? I learned the hard way.

Q:  How did you learn the hard way when you have never associated them?

I mean my husband is the one who is a politician. He also got backlashed for what many perceived to be a betrayal of the struggle. He even addressed a press conference to set the record straight.

Q:  You never disassociated yourself from any wrong doing at the time. Why?

Dumelang is the politician, not me. I thought I could deal with anybody without being judged. There was no need for me to go public about it because as far as I know I am not a public figure. People that interact with me are colleagues from my professional side. Some of them might be associating with the Khama’s or inclined to the ruling party. But as a citizen I still have the right to associate with anybody.

Q:  Do you regret having the thought of setting up a bank that eventually put you on the spot light?

My only regret is that my husband was viewed differently. Some people said he was betraying the struggle of the people he claims to represent.

Q:  Because of that he never thought of resigning from BCP’s presidency?

In Botswana there is no regulation that prohibits me from interacting with like minded people even if they are from a different political party. He could not step down from presidency because there was no wrong doing on his part.

Q:  He is often referred as Lord Dums in politics. Do you always view him as a Lord?

To be me he is my husband, friend and father of our children. I don’t treat him like a Lord. I treat him like my partner although I appreciate the work he does in politics. How can he be my Lord when I am his wife?

Q:  His party is not part of the Umbrella party did you have any input in that decision?

Absolutely not. He is mature enough to make decisions with his party without my interference. I don’t make decisions for the BCP.

Q:  Have you registered to vote?

Yes. We have registered to vote in Phakalane simply because this is our principal residence.

Q:  So you don’t need your votes in Gaborone Central?

What matters is the quality of representation not the voter. We don’t stay in Gaborone Central although we have an interest there. I am also involved in the campaign as I talk to people on daily bases.

Q:  Fair enough. Why are you speaking in political rallies?

It was not the first time I spoke at a rally. I did it in 2009. I am sending a clear message to our opponents that we at BCP value family. That’s all.

  Do you have any ambition of holding a political office?

Never! Politics is not my first love. I will prefer to be behind the scenes.

Q:  Are you media shy?

Not really. In Botswana you can get away with anything as a wife of a politician because we are not being followed around by the media. I was surprised when the media picked on me.

Q:  How many children do you have?

We have 3 children. That is 2 boys and a girl.

Q:  As a wife to a politician how do you relate with other people?

What I have realised is that I have lost my private life. My privacy is gone. But I never feel violated. I don’t get scared when I see a policeman because I know I have done nothing wrong.

Q:  How would you describe Dumelang the politician?

He is a smart and intelligent person. He is a cut above the rest. He understands issues better than the rest of the Mps especially from the ruling party. He has gone to school. When he debates issues you can feel this man knows what he is talking about.

Q: What do you do during your spare time?

I love reading, cooking a good meal and travelling. I also like the company of good people.

Q: Does your husband help you with house chores?

Dumelang does not like doing house chores. He is a traditional man and he married a traditional woman. I do what a woman got to do. He prefers taking children out. Our boys play tennis we support them in that regard.

Q: Does he attract beautiful ladies that make you feel jealous sometimes?

(Laughs) Whenever he goes he attracts attention of people from both sexes. He has no time for ladies with ill intentions. He is not an old man who leaves his wife whenever he is going out because of the fear that he will attract ladies. I am used to it.

Q: Feel Good its Friday what you are up to?

I will definitely treat my friends to a good meal and talk about anything and everything.


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