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High Court decriminalises gay sex

In a historic turn of events this week, the Botswana High Court judge, Justice Michael Leburu made a ruling which finally decriminalised same sex sexual act, rendering the colonial laws on gay sex unconstitutional.

The matter had been brought before court for determination by a 21 year old University of Botswana student, Letsweletse Motshiediemang, meanwhile Lesbians, Gays & Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), was admitted as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the matter. Motshiediemang was challenging the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 167 of the Botswana Penal Code. These provisions criminalised same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults in Botswana and imposes a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment.

When delivery the judgement, Justice Leburu said the court has determined that it is not the business of the law to regulate private consensual sexual encounters between adults.He emphasized that the same applies to issues of private decency and/or indecency between consenting adults. “Any regulation of conduct deemed indecent, done in private between consenting adults, is a violation of the constitutional right to privacy and liberty,” Leburu said.

Leburu recited that there must remain, as already determined a realm of private morality and immorality which should not be the province of the law, particularly where there is no victim or complainant and when such conduct is consensual.

“No justification has been given by the respondent as to why a person’s right to privacy and autonomy ought to be curtailed, relating to consensual acts done in private.in any event, such curtailment of fundamental rights cannot be justified within our democratic dispensation, nor do such abridgement satisfy the proportionality test.”

“It is hereby accordingly ordered that the word “private be and is hereby severed and excised from section 167 of the penal code,” said Leburu. The judgement delivered stated that it is the decision of the court that sections 164(a): 164(c) and 165 of the penal code are declared ultra vires the constitution, in that they violate section 3 (liberty, privacy and dignity): section 9 (privacy) and section 15 (discrimination).

Leburu stated that: “Dignity speaks, it has its sound. Without dignity human life loses its value. To deny each person his or her humanity is to deny them right to life. Human dignity is harmed by unfair treatment. Sexual intercourse is not just for purposes of procreation but also an expression of love. There is nothing justifiable about discriminating against members of the LGBT society. Discrimination has no place in this world. All human beings are born equal. Homosexuality is another form of sexuality that has been suppressed for years.”

Leburu’s court ruling received international prominence as Botswana joined other countries where gay sex is legal. The ruling comes barely a month after Kenya High Court upheld that gay sex is criminal offence. In a recent statement released by the Botswana Democratic Party(BDP), President Mokgweetsi Masisi who was cited in the judgment to have had a great impact in influencing the decriminalisation of same sex during the launch of the commemoration of 16 days against violence on women and children when he said: “There are also many people of the same sex relationships in this country, who have been violated and also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated, just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected.”

BDP chairperson of Communication and International Relations, Kagelelo Kentse said the recent statement pertaining to the LGBT case ruling was in its entirety solely the view of the party and not that of the state.  “What the state decides to do with the ruling remains the prerogative of the State,” he said.  

Information reaching this publication reveals that senior government prosecutors are working around the clock to advice the Attorney General on the next move of the state. This publication has learnt that despite the victory by the Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexual and Transgender groups’ chances of the state

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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