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Tony Blair’s wife to lead Khama’s independent inquiries

In an interview with WeekendPost this week, former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama took time to clear the mist surrounding his ‘crash landing’ statement that he made during his press conference on Monday at Maharaja Conference Centre.

The former President also confirmed that a British barrister, lecturer, and writer, Cherie Blair (née Booth), who is married to former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Tony Blair will lead independent investigations into the alleged missing P100bn which he is implicated in. “Those affidavits were totally fabricated, what it takes for a government to engage in criminality and illegally take to court information which is being concerted by themselves”. Khama explained that the crush landing will come because, it will be revealed that this was false.

Secondly Khama confirms that he and his associates implicated in the matter are going to sue for defamation and it will cost government a lot because there are many of them. “You cannot just put out something like that, the damage they trying to do to is huge”. Former President Ian Khama confirmed to WeekendPost that he personally met the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair a few weeks back during his official trip to United Kingdom.

Khama did not only meet Cherie Blair but a number of some influential people whom he said he could not disclose nor converse on their discussions owing to their privacy. However, Khama confirmed that Blair and her law firm Omnia, are hitting the ground running. “They will be setting out their team soon and we expect them to resume work in less than two months”, he said.

According to their website Omnia Strategy LLP is an international law firm that specializes in dispute prevention and resolution around the globe. Led by Cherie Blair CBE, QC, the firm is committed to achieving their clients’ objectives no matter the size, complexity or nature of the challenge. “We believe in delivering real value and our lean model and flexible fee structures mean we are consistently more competitive than other firms while maintaining impeccable standards of client service and an exceptional success rate”.

They have a unique approach. In an increasingly inter- connected and fast-paced society, Omnia clients’ problems require more than one- dimensional legal solutions. In response, Omnia’s creative cross- disciplinary approach and worldwide network provide an answer. Unlike conventional law firms, their unique law plus model combines remarkable legal capabilities with an unrivalled multi- disciplinary skillset across: policy, business and communications.

“We promise our clients partner- led service from an elite team of handpicked experts ensuring we always engage precisely the right people for every matter”. In his statement he read at the press conference Khama said he is implicated in the said case by a certain Jako Hubona, an investigator employed by Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), in an affidavit which he deposed on 28th October 2019 and was filed with the High Court on the same date. In the same affidavit Hubona said:

He has received a report alleging that on 9 June 2008, 3 Special Unit Accounts were created by Bank of Botswana, under the instruction of former President Ian Khama, and the erstwhile Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service, Isaac Seabelo Kgosi;
 On July 2009, the funds from one of the alleged Bank of Botswana accounts were transferred to HSBC Bank in Hong Kong, the reference being to purchase intelligence equipment

The funds were transferred through various offshore accounts around the world, and in 2015 such funds were deposited into various South African bank accounts; That the creation of the said accounts was unlawful because they were created without the knowledge of the Accountant General; and That Ms. Maswabi had control and access to accounts that monies were eventually transferred to.

Khama stated that the allegations in Hubona’s affidavit are false and were deliberately and maliciously fabricated with the nefarious intention to tarnish his name and all those mentioned in the said affidavit. “Let me also announce that I have commissioned Cherie Blair CBE, QC and her law firm, Omnia Strategy, to undertake an independent and thorough inquiry into the allegations in the affidavit. I look forward to receiving the Omnia Report and I expect it will contribute to our understanding of this state sponsored scandal”, said former President Khama.

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Transgender persons in Botswana live a miserable life

23rd November 2020
Transgender persons

An international report complied in South Africa dubbed ‘Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana’ says that the transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana live a miserable life. The community experiences higher levels of discrimination, violence and ill health.

In this report, it has been indicated that this is because their gender identity, which does not conform to narrowly define societal norms, renders them more vulnerable. Gender identity is a social determinant of health, which means that it is a factor that influences people’s health via their social context, their communities and their experiences of social exclusion. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized this, and transgender people are considered a vulnerable population under the Botswana Second National Strategic Framework for HIV and AIDS 2010-2017.

In a recent study that shed light on the lived experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana, transgender persons often experience discrimination because of their gender identity and expression. The study was conducted by the University of Cape Town, LEGABIBO, BONELA, as well as Rainbow Identity Association and approved by the Health Ministry as well as the University of Botswana.

Of the 77 transgender and gender non-conforming people who participated in the study, less than half were employed. Two thirds, which is approximately 67% said that they did not have sufficient funds to cover their everyday needs. Two in five had hidden health concerns from their healthcare provider because they were afraid to disclose their gender identity.

More than half said that because of their gender identity, they had been treated disrespectfully at a healthcare facility (55%), almost half (46%) said they had been insulted at a healthcare facility, and one quarter (25%) had been denied healthcare because of their gender identity.

At the same time, the ‘Are we doing right’ study suggests that transgender and non-conforming people might be at higher risks of experiencing violence and mental ill-health, compared to the general population. More than half had experienced verbal embarrassment because of their gender identity, 48% had experienced physical violence and more than one third (38%) had experienced sexual violence.

The study showed that mental health concerns were high among transgender and gender non-conforming people in Botswana. Half of the transgender and gender non-conforming study participants (53%) showed signs of depression. Between one in four and one in six showed signs of moderate or severe anxiety (22% among transgender women, 24% among transgender men and 17% among gender non-conforming people).

Further, the study revealed that many had attempted suicide: one in three transgender women (32%), more than one in three transgender men (35%) and three in five gender non-conforming people (61%).

International research, as well as research from Botswana, suggests that not being able to change one’s gender marker has a negative impact on access to healthcare and mental health and wellbeing. The study further showed that one in four transgender people in Botswana (25%) had been denied access to healthcare. This is, at least in part, linked to not being able to change one’s gender marker in the identity documents, and thus not having an identity document that matches one’s gender identity and gender expression.

In its Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework for HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis, the Health Ministry noted that “transgender persons in Botswana are unable to access identity documents that reflect their gender identity, which is a barrier to health services, including in the context of HIV. In one documented case, a transwoman’s identity card did not reflect her gender identity- her identity card photo indicated she was ‘male’. When she presented her identity card at a health facility, a health worker called the police who took her into custody.”

The necessity of a correct national identity document goes beyond healthcare. The High Court of Botswana explains that “the national identity document plays a pivotal role in every Motswana’s daily life, as it links him or her with any service they require from various institutions. Most activities in the country require every Motswana to produce their identity document, for identification purposes of receiving services.”

According to the Legal Gender Recognition in Botswana report, this effectively means that transgender, whose gender identity and expression is likely to be different from the sex assigned to them at birth and from what is recorded on their identity document, cannot access services without risk of denial or discrimination, or accusations of fraud.

In this context, gays and lesbians advocacy group LEGABIBO has called on government through the Department of Civil and National Registration to urgently implement the High Court rulings on gender marker changes. As stated by the High Court in the ND vs Attorney General of Botswana judgement, identity cards (Omang) play an important role in the life of every Motswana. Refusal and or delay to issue a Motswana with an Omang is denying them to live a complete and full-filing life with dignity and violates their privacy and freedom of expression.

The judgement clarified that persons can change their gender marker as per the National Registrations Act, so changing the gender marker is legally possible. There is no need for a court order. It further said the person’s gender is self-identified, there is no need to consult medical doctors.

LEGABIBO also called on government to develop regulations that specify administrative procedure to change one’s gender marker, and observing self-determination process. Further, the group looks out for government to ensure members of the transgender community are engaged in the development of regulations.

“We call on this Department of Civil and National Registration to ensure that the gender marker change under the National Registration Act is aligned to the Births and Deaths Registry Act to avoid court order.

Meanwhile, a gay man in Lobatse, Moabi Mokenke was recently viciously killed after being sexually violated in the streets of Peleng, shockingly by his neighbourhood folks. The youthful lad, likely to be 29-years old, met his fate on his way home, from the wearisome Di a Bowa taverns situated in the much populated township of Peleng Central.

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Khato Civils fights back, dares detractors

23rd November 2020
Khato-civil

CEO of Khato Civils Mongezi Mnyani has come out of the silence and is going all way guns blazing against the company’s adversaries who he said are hell-bent on tarnishing his company’s image and “hard-earned good name”

Speaking to WeekendPost from South Africa, Mnyani said it is now time for him to speak out or act against his detractors. Khato Civils has done several projects across Africa. Khato Civils, a construction company and its affiliate engineering company, South Zambezi have executed a number of world class projects in South Africa, Malawi and now recently here in Botswana.

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UDC petitioners turn to Saleshando

23rd November 2020
Dumelang Saleshando

About ten (10) Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidates who lost the 2019 general election and petitioned results this week met with UDC Vice President, Dumelang Saleshando to discuss the way forward concerning the quandary that is the legal fees put before them by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) lawyers.

For a while now, UDC petitioners who are facing the wrath of quizzical sheriffs have demanded audience with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) but in vain. However after the long wait for a tete-a-tete with the UDC, the petitioners met with Saleshando accompanied by other NEC members including Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, Reverend Mpho Dibeela and Dennis Alexander.

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