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Kgosi Tawana chastises Speaker

MAUN: The Member of Parliament for Maun West, Kgosi Tawana Moremi attacked the Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe at a fully packed meeting at the Batawana main Kgotla on Monday, citing her unfairness in conducting parliament session.

Kokorwe is on country tour programme of taking parliament to the people. Kgosi Tawana says the way members of parliament are pointed to speak in parliament only favours those in the ruling party and it is planned to frustrate opposition members, and are made to look as they are not contributing in parliament.

He highlighted that ‘those’ other members of parliament can make it hard for another member to express their views at the parliament (particularly himself). Kgosi Tawana said those members have invented a back stabbing plan to make sure that their target does not get the chance to speak.

He revealed that as it is at parliament whoever wants to get a chance to speak has to catch Kokorwe’s attention by making gestures by jumping up and down to have a chance to deliberate on the matter put on the table.

“In our parliament if some members of the parliament do not want you to talk they will mark you and make sure they divert the entire Speaker’s attention to themselves and make sure you never get the chance to speak until the stipulated time runs out,” said Kgosi Tawana.

Tawana further said the parliament standing orders are outdated and need to be revised so that they can be fair to all Members of Parliament. He highlighted that if the Speaker of the house does not want you to speak there is nothing that you can do, even if the motion discussed affects your constituency, Tawana even dared Kokorwe to stand up and dispute what he was saying which the Speaker refused to do.

Kgosi Tawana disclosed that in the previous parliament sitting he suggested that each Member of Parliament should be given stipulated time for each of them to get a chance to express their views.

Tawana noted that parliament has become a meeting place where bills and motions are passed but there is nothing that ensures they are implemented He gave the example of the declarations of assets motion which he said was long passed by Parliament but has not been enacted “there is nothing that we say in parliament that is implemented, I suggested that we have a motion that forces implementers to implement all the motions that are passed, failure to do so they can be held accountable,” Tawana said.

He pointed out that a lot needs to be done in order for parliament of Botswana to grow and be effective, “most of the times we never form quorum, and parliament proceeding are affected, it is in this context that I fully agree with live broadcast of parliament proceedings on television as it might help in curbing this absence of Members of Parliament particularly cabinet ministers who never show up to answer our questions. This is contributes to people losing confidence in the Parliament of Botswana.”

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe, in an interview with Weekend Post confirmed that live broadcast of parliament proceedings had been agreed by parliament. “It has been agreed, and am pretty certain it will be done soon, funds permitting, it is something that am looking forward to, it will definitely help me because the public will see how their representatives are behaving and will also expose those who skip parliament.”

Kgosi Tawana also called on the Speaker of the house to see to it that Members of Parliament’s offices in constituencies are fully budgeted for. He complained that the budget allocated to them is not enough to carry out their duties ending up using their own money “every time we are to hold meetings or carry out some programmes in the area I have to take out money from my pocket.”

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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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