The LBGTI community which thronged the Gaborone High court on Thursday to hear a landmark case challenging the constitutionality of government’s criminalizing of same sex coitus was left confused as their case did not have a judge.
The case was filed before former Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Michael Leburu who was recently transferred to Gaborone High Court. According to information reaching this publication, Justice Leburu was supposed to leave to Gaborone with part-heard matters and it was decided that the same sex case was not one of them.
On Thursday the human rights advocacy group, Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) which has been admitted as amicus curiae (“a friend of the court”) came to the high court not knowing that their case was not transferred to Gaborone but remains in Lobatse as it is considered as a fresh matter yet to be sat down for argument. The Lesbians, Bisexuals, Gays, Transgender and Intersex community left the Gaborone High Court disappointed and confused by the happenings.
In an interview with WeekendPost on Thursday LEGABIBO lawyer Tshiamo Rantao said he only heard on Wednesday that Justice Leburu would not bring the case with him to Gaborone. To his knowledge, the case was transferred to Gaborone chambers. “For now I do not know who the judge is or will be. I also do not know when the case will be heard. The case has never been sat down for judgment… but I honestly believe this is not a fresh matter before Justice Leburu as it was part-heard by the same judge during the admission of LEGABIBO case which we won. The case was considered during the admission of LEGABIBO case, so it is not a fresh matter but was part-heard,” said Rantao.
Registrar of the Lobatse High Court is yet to decide the date of the case. In the case, which challenges the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code, LEGABIBO is represented and supported by Tshiamo Rantao and the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC). LEGABIBO believes the criminalization of same-sex sexual acts perpetrate stigma, intolerance, homophobia and violence against the LGBT. On the other hand government is out to defend the constitutionality of the same-sex act law and court papers seen by this publication indicate that the state has come all out and engaged experts in matters of homosexuality.
In his writings about same sex relationships published on African Human Rights Law Journal in 2004, former University of Botswana Dr Emmanuel Kwabena Quansah believes the wind of change blowing through kindred liberal democracies for the decriminalization of homosexual practices will take some time to reach Botswana. He is of the view that the future recognition of same-sex relationships, one may conclude, lies mainly in the hands of those who wish to engage in this type of relationship.
“Despite the many obstacles faced by and prejudices shown against them by society, they must stand up and be counted in order to influence a shift in public opinion, leading to legislative and constitutional changes in the status quo. Their heterosexual compatriots are not likely to do it for them,” said Dr Quansah.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.