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Masitara to shame thieving ministers

Former Legislator, Robert Masitara has launched an unrelenting war on corruption. Lately he has been very active on social media organising likeminded Batswana, especially the youth, to help him tackle the corruption scourge.

This week he launched a scathing attack against cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, procurement officers and some government officer whom he accused of corruption or knowingly concealing corrupt acts. Lashing out on facebook, Masitara said he “knows what I am talking about, I am coming.”

Masitara also hopes to push his agenda through his bid for the presidency of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). Posting on facebook this week, Masitara jumped to the defence of President Dr Lt Gen Ian Khama:

“People accuse the President of condoning corruption. If he did he could have long expelled me from the BDP whilst I was still heading the two Committees of Parliament. I met HE on several occasions and he understands my position on Corruption. The best thing that had happened to this country is to have HE Khama as President,” Masitara wrote.

Masitara pointed out that Khama came at a time of economic downturn and managed to stir Botswana through the difficult times. “I respect all Presidents who led their countries during this testing times including Barack Obama. He introduced Initiatives that none of us ever thought. As a human being he has his owns faults and mistakes. Only God doesn't make mistakes. It is our Children in the future who will appreciate his work of uplifting the living standards of his people.”

The former Gaborone West legislator says Khama knows that oversight need to be strengthened in government including parastarals and agencies and that it is one area Botswana government must put greater attention to.

He says there is need to fight against social ills including corruption, fraud and money Laundering. “I am not surprised that he attends the Anti-corruption seminar conference in the UK. It is the people who claim to be his friends who are destroying his legacy by engaging on acts that flout systems and corrupt the whole system.”

Masitara said Khama spent the past 10 years as President reacting to problems that were not engineered by his administration but past administration.

He is of the view that a corruption court must be introduced immediately; if it is there it must be seen to be doing its job. “We must bring perpetrators of the insidious crime of corruption to book. All those who siphoned monies illegally from Botswana and built homes in South Africa and Europe must bring back those monies. I know what I'm talking about,” he wrote.

According to the former MP, “all those who were awarded tenders erroneously or fraudulently by flouting procedures and regulations and processes must be prosecuted and such funds returned or else we must go after their assets”.

He says all tender committees’ members who ought to have known that such tenders were awarded fraudulently by flouting procedures must be prosecuted and sent to jail. He further says all educational institutions that defrauded government by claiming against dummy students in the past 15 years must return the monies and owners must be prosecuted including employees of the Ministry of Education who ought to have checked the validity of such lists from the private institutions. He says former Ministers implicated must be prosecuted including their permanent secretaries.

“Let them enjoy the tenders whilst they still can, time is coming when they will be prosecuted and sent to prison. Parastarals tenders in past 15 years must be reviewed and those implicated prosecuted and sent to prison including management tender committees for flouting procedures. I am coming,” wrote Masitara.

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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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