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Mangole’s recruitment cooks up a storm

Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) secretary general, Gilbert Mangole’s membership drive in the Ngami constituency has been blasted as unconstitutional by party officials in the area.

Following the poor performance of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), both at council and parliamentary level in the Ngami Constituency in the 2014 general elections, the BMD secretary general embarked on a journey around the constituency to spread the Moono slogan.  Mangole said just like in other constituencies in the Northern parts of Botswana,   by the time they went for the 2014 elections,   the UDC was yet to entrench itself in the North of Dibete.                            

The membership drive led by Mangole and his team aims at promoting the UDC in the northern part of the country, but others in the party do not see it that way.  

In the previous elections, the Ngami constituency was won by Thato Kwerepe of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) with 7063 votes, against the BCP’s 7015 for Taolo Habano; Cosmos Moenga of the UDC got a paltry 802 votes.

However, Komana/ Toteng council candidate, Thapelo Kentse expressed displeasure at the membership drive saying that secretary general and his team did not inform the Ngami regional and branch committees before the recruitment escapade.

Kentse said issues of this nature could end up fuelling factions within the party. He further suspected that the drive is targeting the BMD president, Ndaba Gaolathe. He is of the view that Mangole and his team are covertly canvassing support for Sidney Pilane, who wants readmission into the BMD. He declared Mangole’s actions as a nightmare for BMD.

“Ke belaela gore ba leka go recruata batho ba Ngami gore fa go iwa ko congress ya phathi ba e go nna mo lekgamong la bone ba seka ba tlhopha Rre Ndaba Gaolathe, he said in vernacular. (I suspect they are recruiting Ngami members to prepare for the congress and ensure that they vote against Ndaba Gaolathe.)

Despite the concerns from some BMD members in the district about the drive, told this publication that the results of the last election has informed them as the UDC that the Moono slogan is yet to reach rural areas hence the membership drive in the Ngami.

Mangole said they performed poorly in the previous elections due to lack of resources. He said limited resources do not allow them to stretch to the North as much as they intended to. According to Mangole the UDC used its limited resources in areas where the party was strong and they had hope of winning especially in the south.

“For the past three weeks we were in Bobonong and we did exceptional well and we hope to succeed in Ngami, where we have targeted close to 5000 members. We are still roaming around Ngami constituency mobilising and registering new members,” he said.

Mangole said they are registering members of the BMD and individuals from other political parties which are non-UDC members like BCP and BDP. The BMD secretary general urged people of Ngami to be part of the political change in 2019 by voting the UDC. He appealed to the youth to be part of that change as the leaders of tomorrow.

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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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