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Masisi vows to retable P900 million water pipeline request

Apart from the floor crossing law, Masisi has this week also vowed to Kanye residents during the launch of Dr. Lemogang Kwape, that they will immediately table the law on a P900 million water pipeline in parliament if given fresh 5 year mandate in October.

This comes after the MPs reigned supreme at the just ended 11th parliament by rejecting a supplementary budget proposal brought before parliament by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Mathambo, in order to finance the guarded P900 million North-South Carrier II tender.

This publication understands that a number of legislators from the BDP joined ranks with the opposition benches to reject the supplementary budget, and, following a spirited debate, coupled with ruling party caucuses at intervals, 26 MPs voted against the supplementary, with 24 voting in favour. “The other law that we want to table before parliament after October elections is that one which would allow us to utilise the P900 million to construct the water pipeline from north which will address the water crisis bedeviling the south of the country,” Masisi said.

 
According to the President, those who opposed the instrument from opposition and few in the BDP have effectively starved the people from accessing the water. So he emphasised: “we want to bring water into Kanye. We want to rectify the last mistake whereby parliament rejected that we be given funds in which, in 12 months water would have arrived and connected to Kanye.” This in essence, he says, means that 18 constituencies have been denied water supply.

“They cited reasons such as corruption, which doesn’t make sense but imagine rejecting a P900 million water project and then say we do a 1.8 billion other one. How can you reject a 12 months project for a water pipeline and opt for a 3 years cleaning purification plant project?” he asked rhetorically. The main agenda of opposition in Masisi’s judgement, is to starve the people’s developments so that they campaign about it saying the government failed.

After rejecting this, the BDP president explained that his advisors recommended that given his powers and that there is a need for water, and that it’s an emergency, then he should use his prerogative through a Presidential Directive, to release those funds in line with the constitution.“But I flatly refused.” He continued: “I refuse because I want due process to be followed.”

This publication understands that the North- South Carrier II Project was not part of the just ended National Development Plan (NDP11) hence the controversy surrounding the tender. It was conjured by cabinet, with the several sources claiming that the tender was tailor made for a company that would later help fund BDP’s general elections campaign. However, the BDP rejected this in a statement released weeks thereafter. This comes after the BDP made it public knowledge that the party is broke and that it will raise funds in order to finance its bid to retain state power.

It has come to the attention of this publication, that the tender, which was initially valued at P700 million was later altered to P900 million before being awarded to Khato Civils. It has emerged from Finance and Estimates Committee then, chaired by the maverick Member of Parliament for Francistown West, Ignatius Moswaane, that the project did not have a budget, and that it was not conceptualised by the ministry as per procedure.

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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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