Former President Lt Gen Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama said even though he has supported the current arrangement of automatic succession of the state presidency, the time has now come to review and amend it.
The former President said the issue is not new to him, it was first brought to his attention by some members of the opposition party and later by his party Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) back in 2008 when he assumed the presidency. General Khama said even though he does not support direct election of the president he is of the view that a democratic arrangement has to be made when a president’s term comes to an end so that the party can be able to elect the country’s next president.
He says the current system of automatic succession can be applicable when one dies in office or resigns and other circumstances. “This is not my idea but opinions raised by democrats during my stay in power. I have always thought it’s a good idea and I personally support it,” he said. Khama is of the view that automatic succession is good for smooth transition of power. However,he said certain provisions under clause should be re-examined precisely with reference to when the sitting President’s term comes to end.
“We all know why the provision was introduced but we are still stuck there today,” he said. Some democrats believe the automatic succession was engineered by Masire to safe guard Festus Mogae’s interests at a time when Ponatshego Kedikilwe was perceived to be the party’s natural heir to the throne. The former president says even though the issue of direct election of the president looks eminent at the moment, his fear is, it has its own repercussions. “In this set-up, a president can win elections while his own cabinet comes from the opposition and to me that will delay progress. However that comes with a very cognizable arrangement where Ministers can be nominated from outside parliament which is good move,” he said.
ON HIS KGOTLA MEETINGS AND CHARITY WORK
On the issue of addressing Kgotla meetings around the country, Khama said, “to say I should stop is impossible.” He said this is his outreach program where he continues his charitable cause. “I made a pledge not to abandon Batswana when I bid them farewell and that’s exactly what I am doing. I cannot pull a Putin strategy and come back to power,” said khama. Khama said currently he is not involved in the running of the government and allegations that he is a stumbling block in President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration are hearsay spread by some of Masisi’s supporters.
He said actually it is Masisi and his Permanent Secretary Carter Morupisi who continue to make life difficult for him. “They continue to take staff from me, refuse with air transport and continue to pen down more press releases on my name. Khama who was in Moshupa on Thursday to donate a house and donate P20 000 towards the development of Kgotla shelter suffered another sabotage when public officers were instructed not to attend the meeting and the beneficiary of the house was nowhere to be found.
He said he is a true democrat and believe in exercising his democratic rights. “I will never tell Bangwato not to welcome Masisi in their Kgotla, as much as they welcome him I am fine with it. To tell people to do that will be a Mugabe style,” he said. Addressing remarks made by former President Festus Mogae against him, Khama said Mogae is entitled to his own opinion. Mogae is quoted in The Voice newspaper saying Khama has failed to unite the party and he regrets bringing him to BDP.
Khama said as much as he know, he has achieved whatever he was brought to do at the BDP but since his departure the party is now in disarray and continue to sink in factions at the helm of the current leader. “The reason why I pronounced my support for Pelonomi Venson- Moitoi is not to divide the party, but I believe she is capable of bringing stability and dissolve the factions,” he said.
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.