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Khama takes Masisi to court

The ongoing feud between former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi is now heading to court, WeekendPost can exclusively reveal.  Fresh information gathered by this publication this week shows that Khama has written a Statutory Notice to Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe, dated April 26th, giving government chief lawyer 30 days to respond.

 Government is yet to serve a response, according to lawyers who represent Khama, Ramalepa Attorneys.  The statutory notice bears reference: Notice in terms of section 4 in terms of legal proceedings (Civil actions by or against government or public officers) Act (Chapter 10:01): In re- legal proceedings to be instituted by his Excellency the former President of the Republic of Botswana Lieutenant General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

The cause of action is stated as “the repeated and continued unlawful failure and refusal to avail the former President access to the use of Government owned modes of transport (and in particular aircraft and boat transportation), a clear and flagrant violation and contravention of the Presidents (Pensions and retirements benefits) Act, (Chapter 02:03), and the amendment thereto (hereinafter “the law”), and on the ostensible basis that no aircraft and boat transportation was available.”

Khama gave his notice of intention in terms of section 4 of the State Proceedings (Actions by or Against Government or Public Officers) Act (“the law”), to institute legal proceedings after the expiration of one month next after receipt of this notice against the government, the President, the Permanent Secretary to the President and Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service and/ or any other party as may become necessary to cite.

According to the notice former President Ian Khama’s statutory entitlements, rights and/ or benefits under section 6 (b) of the Presidents (Pensions and retirement benefits) Act, as amended, with respect to local air travel, have been consistently violated by the President, Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) or Office of the President and effectively by government of Botswana since the former President vacated office of the President.

The notice also made mention that Khama sought to use aircraft and boat under cover letters dated 24th September 2018, 13th December 2018, 24th December 2018, 15th January 2019, 24 January 2019, 19th March 2019, 9th April 2019, 17th April 2019, and 18th April 2019 respectively. “On each occasion the access to use of owned modes of transportation sought was either ignored or unlawfully denied”.

Khama also wrote to the Attorney General that he was furnished with a savingram authored by PSP dated 26th February 2019 concerning his trip to Dharamsala, India from 8- 12 March 2019.  “The said savingram made it plain that the Government will not ‘facilitate’ the said trip to India. The savingram was understood by Khama to mean that the Government of Botswana intends to deny him his international travel benefit to the extent that the Government of Botswana is obliged to finance such international travel. The Government also refused to pay Khama per diem for the international trip aforesaid.

It is understood that as a result former President Ian Khama incurred costs in the sum of ZAR73, 047. 00 for flight tickets for a return trip from Johannesburg to Deli, and USD11, 270. 00 to charter an aircraft from Deli to Dharamsala. Further Khama was entitled to a per diem allowance in the sum of BWP10, 732. 94. The notice state that Khama should the government should be re- imbrues him all afore said expenses. The notice also sought that the government withdraw all the disciplinary charges against all security officers so charged, within one calendar month from date of receipt of the notice.

Furthermore the notice invites government, within the period of the notice to engage with the former President with a view of reaching a sustainable agreement on the reasonable terms upon which Khama will be availed access to use of government owned modes of transport (in particular aircraft and boat transportation). In the event that the matters raised in the notice are not resolved within the notice period, Khama will institute legal proceedings against the Attorney General and seek relief including but not limited to the orders they have advanced.

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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

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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