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Maele snubs Batlokwa over land dispute

Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele

Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele is yet to address Batlokwa over the burning issue of land in the area despite several efforts by the tribe and area Member of Parliament Same Bathobakae to organise for the meeting to be held.

Tlokweng has been ensnared in land disputes which have over time been feared would spark tribalism, as the tribe demanded preferential treatment in allocation of residential plots in the area.

Bathobakae told Parliament this week that Tlokweng is faced with a huge challenge of land, which government is aware of but is reluctant to foster a workable solution.

“Government promised to buy farms surrounding Tlokweng and implement the sixty (60) percent quota system for residents to acquire plots, but nothing has been done yet,” she said.

Bathobakae later told this publication that soon after she was elected to Parliament, one of her first tasks was to facilitate a meeting between Minister of Lands and Housing, and Batlokwa, which she said has since proved to be a futile exercise.

The Tlokweng MP said Batlokwa wants to meet with the Minister of Lands and Housing because of the promises which were made by government to avail land to them within a reasonable time through purchasing of privately owned farms which surround the area.

“Other ministers have been to Tlokweng, but the Minister of Lands and Housing has failed to address a kgotla meeting to speak about land issues and government promises with regard to plot allocations in Tlokweng, “she said.

Bathobakae said, even the previous Minister, Lebonaamang Mokalake could not provide the solution because he also avoided having thorough discussion on the matter.

In 2013, Batlokwa tribesmen, supported by the Tlokweng chieftainship halted, through a court order the allocation of about 300 plots in the area through a raffle format. Batlokwa wanted a system which would give priority to the residents and not just be open to everyone.  

In the last tenth Parliament, Mokalake tabled the controversial land policy which introduced a quota system for land allocation in peri-urban areas. The policy, which was adopted entailed that, a 60 percent quota should be reserved for residents and the 40 percent would be for non-residents.

An integral part of Bathobakae’s argument is that the quota system policy which was adopted by Parliament, although welcome in Tlokweng, has not benefited the residents as it was believed.   

Maele, a backbencher then was a strong critic of the quota system policy. Maele had said the policy was against the idea of nationalism, which Botswana held in high regard since independence. Maele was also of the view that shortage of land was a problem across the whole country not only in cities and peri-urban areas.
Batlokwa conceded a huge chunk of their land to cater for the establishment and expansion of Gaborone city in the 1960s.

Presenting his budget in Parliament this week, Minister Maele did not hint any slight prospects of addressing the land shortage in Tlokweng. Maele revealed a number of key projects in land servicing to be carried out in the coming financial year with none of them being in Tlokweng.

One of the land servicing projects expected this year is of Palapye extension 11 which is expected to deliver 3300 plots when completed. According to Maele the project is expected to be complete by August this year.

Maele further told the house that Public Private Partnership (PPP) strategy in land servicing which was approved by the Government last year is now set to be piloted in four areas namely, Nnyungwe (Kasane), Seuwane (Ramotswa), Kgatleng (Mochudi) and part of Francistown’s Gerald Estates Block 1 and CBD.

The Minister also made startling revelations that there are 1 million applicants in the waiting list as maintained and published by various Land Boards and the Department of Lands. The number is from the country’s total population of slightly over 2 million people.

“The applicants in these waiting lists will continue to be vetted for eligibility for allocation to ensure compliance with the Land Policy provision on equity in distribution of land,” he said.

The Ministry of Lands and Housing has budgeted P338 million for land servicing projects throughout the country in the next financial year.

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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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