In the wake of the much anticipated Serowe meeting to be addressed by the former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama scheduled for May 25th 2019, reports gathered by WeekendPost state that Khama is likely to be arrested immediately after the meeting.
The scheduled meeting is a follow up to his first meeting which was held on the 5th April 2019 at Serowe Showgrounds where Khama consulted with Bangwato on whether to leave Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) or not. Reports suggests that immediately after the meeting in what is believed to scare multitudes that will throng the event, the government machinery that will be deployed at the meeting will immediately whisk him away where he will be detained for only 3 hours. “This is a move to show him that he is not immune to anything.
They want to send a strong message and scare people to stay away from him as much as possible”, said the source close to the development. A reliable source also told WeekendPost that the mobilization for buses has started in the whole central region to ferry people to the meeting on the 25th May. “Already now 27 buses have been secured and the number is still increasing to make sure that the people attend the meeting in large numbers”.
A source close to government enclave who spoke on condition of anonymity said President Masisi is now fed up with his predecessor. “We will not be surprised if he arrests him, he once told his close associates that Khama will one day wake up in jail,” said the source. In an interview with this publication this week Khama said he is not aware of any plans to arrest him.
He said he is not doing anything illegal, but just consulting with his tribe on his future and that of the BDP. According to Khama the meeting will go on as planned and no one should be afraid to attend. Khama also highlighted that he is in constant communication with Samson Moyo Guma who fled the country last month amid assassination claims.
Reports suggest that Moyo Guma is likely to arrive back in the country anytime soon to launch the independent candidates prior to the general elections. Following the recent suspensions and expulsion from the party, a number of independent candidates is expected to increase to a record breaking figure this election year.
Khama on Olopeng feud
Former President Ian Khama also took the opportunity to deny allegations that he and his longtime ally Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology Thapelo Olopeng have a fall out. He confirmed that he has some cattle that he is currently keeping at Olopeng’s farm and is working on captivating them not that they are having a problem.
“Olopeng and I haven’t had any fallout, we still remain very close. Olopeng has no livestock at my farm in fact I am the one who has cattle at his farm. I am in the process of retaining them as soon as I am done with fencing and drilling a borehole at my farm near Letlhakane”, he said.
“I am not bigger than the party”
Khama dismissed allegations that he acts like he is bigger than the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). An association that identifies itself as Association of former Members of Parliament (MPs) has this week came out attacking former President Ian Khama on a statement accusing him of fueling regionalism, acting like he is bigger than the BDP and causing instability within the party.
“How can I be bigger than the party when I am not even in any of the BDP structure? I am just an ordinary member, I haven’t been involved in any of the party works in the recent past and I don’t know how I can be bigger than the party. I don’t know who these people are, I have never heard of the association but I think they are a group of people who have been sent to attack me”, he said. He however emphasized that he does not dispute raising concerns on how the current administration runs the party.
“The BDP is in decline currently, the current leadership is killing it, democrats are being treated badly and I have also been treated badly and I have been thinking about whether I should leave or not,” Khama said. The former President further revealed that he had a meeting with the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Brigadier Peter Magosi who tried to initiate a meeting of reconciliation between him and President Masisi.
Khama confirmed that according a response he got from Magosi. Masisi declined to meet on two attempts initiated by the country’s Spy Chief. “Masisi turned Magosi down, it must be understood that this was all Magosi’s initiative. This was not the first time. Magosi has been one of those who has been constantly trying to bring about reconciliation and that was his last effort but it turned down that his master was determined to upset him”, he said.
Khama accused Masisi of hiding behind elders to avoid reconciliation, emphasizing that it has been over year and Masisi has never attempted to meet. “Masisi has refused to meet on different accounts, and when Magosi approached me I knew Masisi would reject. I know that after Kang he immediately meet Venson- Moitoi and even instructed Slumber Tsogwane to carry on attempts for the party unity. It was so easy for him to meet Moitoi after but never with me it seem impossible up to today”.
The former President says there were two attempts where he had agreed to meet with Masisi but he has declined using the elders as an excuse saying they were the ones who should bring them together. “I have BDP best interest at heart, and I put them before my own. So I know that the best outcome for the party or even the nation is to find common grounds between us but if he wants to continue doing like he did recently at Khawa then it is a problem”.
Khama said with the kind of thing that they continue to do, treating people badly, it is in their DNA now saying one is left with very little choice with the leadership that they now have in the BDP. “It is an organization I still want to belong to, but the way they suspend people, members of parliament, kicking people out of cabinet who may not agree with him is just immature.
Arrogance and immaturity is where we are. Unfortunately for me the only thing left is the name, its values have been eroded, and that is why I thought to myself is this really the party I used to recognize, that I joined but bearing in mind that I shouldn’t just the decision on my own but consult and hear what others say and after hearing them I will decide. That is the purpose of the meeting on May 25th in Serowe.
The Khawa handshake
Khama also took swipe at some pundits who rushed to social media with pictures of him and Masisi greeting each other at Khawa and concluding that it was reconciliation. “We were just greeting each other, there was no agreement of any sort. When he came we all stood up and as he passes we exchanged greetings, this is our culture, this is showing respect to elders, it is just good manners. I respect the institution of the presidency, I don’t hate Masisi.
We have our differences, I don’t know what he feels towards me but the way I am being treated I would say it comes very close to hate and intense resentment of me but I don’t share those sentiments with him or anybody for that matter”, said Khama. Khama concluded that despite their already known differences he cannot greet the President when they meet at an event. We are people and must show respect at all times. He however said Masisi should feel free to engage him and not hide behind some biased elders who are not prepared to mediate.
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.
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.
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.