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Nasha reveals comeback strategy

“I have an elaborate comeback political plan”

Former Speaker of National Assembly Dr. Margaret Nasha has revealed that although she has kept a low profile ever since suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Gladys Kokorwe for the speakership positon, “something big is hatching.”

Apart from hatching a political comeback, Nasha is currently working on a project in partnership with the British High Commission in Gaborone and Westminster Foundation for Democracy aimed at empowering women for serious political positions. Nasha has been chosen as a key local political leader to assist spearhead the project initiated by the United Kingdom ambassadorship in the country.

The project will put together a semblance of women aspiring for political positions including that of legislature, Council and party key positions. The women will be trained, encouraged and assisted anyhow possible to compete effectively with their male counterparts who have advanced widely ever since the first elections in 1965. Apart from the project, in her comeback strategy Nasha said she will re-appear in the political space much stronger and relevant.

She told Weekend Post this week on the sidelines of the women empowerment workshop that she would not say much now on her political move “but would like to catch everyone off-guard.”

The outspoken politician who authored her debut book titled “Madam Speaker, Sir: Breaking the Glass Ceiling, One Woman’s Struggles” broke ranks with her Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) after the party sidelined her in favour of Kokorwe for the position of Speaker of the National Assembly.

Those close to Nasha, who also refer to her as the country’s political iron lady, have said that the country’s first female speaker of parliament may be harboring presidential ambitions. “Her next move is likely to be contestation for the highest office of the Republic,” a source hinted to Weekend Post, a move which Nasha herself alluded to during her interview. “Some have been lobbying me to stand for the presidency but like am saying I won’t say much on this one.”

She asserted to this publication that, “I have an elaborate political plan but not for consumption now.”

Although she was cagey to uncover the plan she said for now, her focus is to work with the British High Commission and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to come up with an action plan of endowing more women to partake in the impending 2018 party primary elections.

The women are drawn from the political divide including BDP, and opposition parties Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP).

“We target 2018 because as you know, if you miss the boat at primary elections then you know you lost it,” Nasha highlighted. She said, “We want to look for serious women who want to stand in Councils and parliamentary seats for all the parties.”

According to Nasha, they are hopeful that the project will have support from the women aspiring politicians and therefore will result in manufacturing a core of women to empower them and make it a continuous program for the future even. “Even if we can train 30 or 40 of them then we will be pretty sure around 10 may make it,” she stressed.

Politics has been a male dominated institution since 1965, with the first woman carrying the banner of BDP entering the national assembly in 1974 in the name of Gaositwe Chiepe. Other women followed suit but the number never exceeded 5 out of the currently 57 constituencies.

The first opposition woman was Botswana Congress Party (BCP)’s Habaudi Hobona who made a short stint following the victory of Francistown West bye election which fell vacant after the death of its MP Tshelang Masisi. BDP which failed to contest the bye election won the constituency back in 2014 general elections represented by Ignatious Moswaane.

In 2009, the parliament saw only two legislators Venson Moitoi and Botlhogile Tshireletso while Dorcas Malesu was brought in through the specially elected dispensation. The trend continued to 2014 with the trio retaining their seats while Unity Dow was specially elected after losing Mochudi West to Gilbert Mangole in the general election.

Bame Bathobakae from UDC also triumphed. The trend is not helped by Botswana’s refusal to sign the Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) Gender Protocol which pushes nations in the region to achieve 30% of women representation at parliament.

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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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