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Dikgosi make piercing demands

Chairman of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi (NYD) Kgosi Puso Gaborone has bluntly told Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kgotla Autlwetse that they want a ministry that would specifically address issues of Bogosi and culture. This was one of the pointed demands made by Dikgosi this week.

The request follows a trail of others the traditional leaders have asked for especially with respect to their powers. Dikgosi had serious introspection meeting that lasted for two days dubbed Bogosi Pitso under the theme, “Bogosi Re Ya Kae.”  The gathering apart from introspecting Bogosi institution also looked at adoption of a five-year strategy seeking to transform an ailing establishment. Making the deliberations, Kgosi Gaborone told Autlwetse that if the government is holding Bogosi at the highest regard, it should first create Ministry of Bogosi and Traditional Affairs.

“Merero [consultations] should be under one roof; culture should be taken to where Bogosi is. I am advocating for one thing; Ministry of Bogosi and Traditional Affairs,” Kgosi Gaborone said to the ululation of other Dikgosi who thronged the Pitso. He argued that as an institution they don’t have a budget to carry out a number of initiatives they should do, adding that even the national vision of 2016 did not recognise them.

“We can build things like Peace and democracy foundation. Bogosi should be more cosmopolitan that would be more inclusive. We want to protect and build this nation, we don’t destroy. Let’s package Bogosi properly,” he pleaded. Kgosi Maruje Masunga also agreed with Kgosi Gaborone: “There should be creation of Bogosi Ministry,” he said.  The same was echoed in an interview by both Kgosi Kgari of Bakwena and Oscar Mosielele of Bakgatla-ba-ga-Mmanaana.

Most of ‘Marara’ as Dikgosi are referred to, wholly endorsed the idea of having their own ministry saying they are compromised under the current set-up.  “We are confused as to whether we fall under Presidential Affairs ministry, Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture Development as well as Defence Justice and Security so all these should come under one roof. We are the only institution with an act but with no Ministry,” Kgosi Matlapeng from Tlokweng added.

While the plan has been discussed for a long time now, Dikgosi are confused as to who should lead them should they succeed. Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Deputy Permanent Secretary Col. Duke Masilo is earmarked to lead the ministry should it come to being. On the other side, others want Kgosi Gaborone or Kgosi Maruje Masunga to lead them should the ministry come to being. But one thing Dikgosi concur on is-the ministry should not be led by a politician.

“We should be led by a Kgosi, someone who understand tsamaiso ya jone not barutegi or politicians. It is better Kgosi reprimands the other than someone else reprimanding it. Remember what Minister Butale did to Kgosi Seepapitso when he suspended him from Bogosi, we don’t want that,” one Kgosi Maforaga of Palapye told this paper.

BOGOSI DEMANDS ‘BETTER’ CONDITIONS OF SERVICE

After making their case clear on their own ministry, the tribal CEO’s as Gaborone referred to them made more demands in relation to their conditions of service. At the top of their demands they want some clauses in the Bogosi Act to be discarded especially in relation to political interference. Section 13 and 15 provide for the removal and de-recognition of Kgosi and this rub Magosi the wrong way. “Bogosi is in trouble you want to destroy the institution while politicians stay in office forever, we should do away with the clause that removes Dikgosi from office,” Maruje said.

They also say Minister should not supervise them but the government should establish the Royal council. “Ministers should not interfere with Bogosi; this act is used to harass us. There should be council that would discipline Dikgosi not ministers,” said Masunga who his colleagues call firebrand.  He added; “abuse of power is rampant and corruption has escalated, this is so because of gaps left by Dikgosi. Again if a Kgosi does something he is reprimanded while nothing happens to politicians who does the same, this is double standards.”

In addition Dikgosi spoke in one voice – they want state of the art Kgotla offices and are also demanding same automobiles like the ones used by ministers. “How do you put Dikgosi in a quantum while ministers ride BMW 7 series? Who are the leaders of this country?” he rhetorically asked. For the five year strategy to materialise the traditional leaders say, they need security equivalent to those given to judges as they do the same toil of solving disputes.  Private and personal secretaries must also be availed to the leaders to do their job diligently.

 “We also need diplomatic passports, if you can avail to athletes and MPs why don’t you give Dikgosi the same,” he concluded his presentation on the Dikgosi condition of service. The ministry will look at the demands before determining whether it is feasible to implement them. This was the first time Pitso was called since 2015.

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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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