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CoA Judges reserve judgement in LEGABIBO case

Court of Appeal have reserved judgement in a case in which government is appealing a decision by High Court that Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) should register their organization.

“Judgement will be delivered on the day to be announced. But it is unlikely that it will be handed down on this court session,” CoA president Kirby declared to a fully packed court gallery comprising of LEGABIBO activists, sympathisers and those following the marathon case with keen interest.   

The case was presided by a panel of 5 Court of Appeal Judges comprising of President Justice Ian Kirby together with Justices Craig Howie, Monametsi Gaongalelwe, Lord Hamilton and Issac Lesetedi.

Previously, High Court Judge Justice Terrence Rannowane has ruled that the decision of the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Edwin Batshu to refuse to the registration of LEGABIBO was in contravention of section 3 of the constitution of Botswana as it denies them equal protection of the law.

Subsequent to LEGABIBO victory, government appealed the case and the CoA raised more questions while seeking for clarity on constitutionality of gay people forming an association “to advocate for establishment of a legal framework to reach those in society that are legally and socially marginalized such as lesbians, gays and bisexuals.” Section 3 was heavily relied upon in the matter.

The said section 3 (of the constitution) provides that: “whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the right and freedoms of other and to public interest to each and all of the following namely; a)life, liberty, security and protection of the law, b)freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association.

“Does gays and lesbians have constitutional right and protection? Or they can just be discriminated against? Are they not protected by section 3?” Court of Appeal president Ian Kirby continuously asked the AG.  

Appellants Attorney General was represented by State Counsel Otsile Rammidi while Attorney Dick Bayford, Shimi Phage and Lesego Nchunga were representing LEGABIBO.

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Botswana approves extradition of British fugitive

20th March 2023

Raiz Ahmed Tayub, a British fugitive sought by Interpol for his involvement in human trafficking and slave trade crimes, was captured by the Botswana Police Service (BPS) earlier this year.

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BOCRA detects new cyber attacks targeted at Botswana

20th March 2023

Government owned communications regulator, Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) recently detected several cyber-attacks targeted at national information and communications infrastructure, companies and home routers in this country.

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Malawi appeals for help over Cyclone Freddy at PAP

17th March 2023

As of yesterday evening, the death toll from the Cyclone in Malawi had risen from the initially reported 190 to 225 in a short period of time, over 20 000 people have been displaced, and the worst of fears are yet to come as the fatalities continue to mount. This was reported by a Malawi Member of Parliament attending the Pan African Parliament session in Midrand, South Africa, Hon Steven Mikiya.

Mikiya was giving a statement on behalf of Malawi as the ongoing Pan African Parliament in South Africa.

Mikiya said the Cyclone has wreaked the most havoc in our country’s Southern Region. “The Southern Region, has been hardest hit with widespread heavy rains and strong winds. This caused a rapid rise in water levels and subsequent flooding. Meanwhile, power supply has been disrupted, roads blocked off and rendered impassable and mudslides have also been widely reported,” he said.

He made a special appeal to the PAP:  “Where I come from, there is a parable which I would like to share with you which says, “mzako weniweni umamudziwa panthawi ya mavuto.” Simply put, a friend in need is a friend indeed or put loosely, a person who helps at a difficult time is a friend you can rely on.”

Mikiya continued: “Yes! Misfortune has knocked on our door and left in its wake a trail of death and destruction that may take years to fully recover from. However, amidst these difficulties, I have every reason to believe that sometimes when you are in a dark place and think you have been buried, you have actually been planted. My belief, Mr. President, arises out of my faith in this gathering and out of the conviction that it is not coincidental that Cyclone Freddy hit Malawi and Mozambique while the delegations of both countries are here.”

According to Mikiya, the level of destruction, the loss of life, property and the decimation of the entire fabric of established communities has been unprecedented. He noted that all this, is coming at a time when Malawi was starting to show signs of recovery from the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that also came hard on the heels of Cyclone Ana and Cyclone Gombe that left a similar trail of devastation and destruction in Malawi and neighbouring countries.

As of Sunday, this week, from the 12th of March, Malawi and Mozambique have been facing the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy that made a landfall over Mozambique on Saturday the 11th and reached Malawi by Sunday the 12th of March.

The Malawi legislator said he has absolute faith in the Pan African Parliament, which he described as “a league of nations brought together by a shared ancestry, history, identity as well as our beloved continent which we inhabit”.

Meanwhile, Malawi President, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a State of Disaster in the affected areas effectively appealing for local and international support for the affected families.

Mikiya appealed to the Pan African Parliament drawing “positive” inspiration from Europe which rallied around Turkey after the destructive earthquakes to bring the much-needed relief and humanitarian aid to the people of Turkey.

He said Africa should demonstrate to the world that the African Union and its Organs are not mere talk shows, but effective institutions which stand up when it matters most.

“Alone, it may take us a lifetime to fully recover, but together, in the Pan-Africanist spirit of Ubuntu, our lives and livelihoods will return to a semblance of normality in record time. This is the time to live by our operative mantra, “One Africa, One Voice.” Mikiya concluded.

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