Mokone says he was arrested for Tsimane’s disappearance
Sunday Standard editor, Outsa Mokone is fighting back, on Tuesday through his attorneys Bayford and Associates; he filed a draft order with the High Court to declare that his detention in September 2014 was unlawful.
Mokone’s brawl with the law followed the disappearance of senior reporter Edgar Tsimane after he authored an article published in the Sunday Standard alleging that the President, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama was involved in a car accident while driving alone at night.
According to Mokone’s court papers, the decision to arrest him only came when he told the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Marage, that he does not know where Tsimane is. He further highlighted that Tsimane was not his charge as he is an adult of sound mind and thus found it difficult to understand how his arrest could have helped the Police in locating him.
The matter submitted before Judge Letsididi of the Lobatse High Court will establish and determine whether or not the Warrant of Arrest issued on the 2nd of September 2014 by the Chief Magistrate for the Gaborone Administrative District for the apprehension of Mokone was applied for and lawful.
It is also upon the court to determine and decide, in the event it is found that the Station Commander of Broadhurst Police Station had refused to allow the Applicant’s (Mokone) Attorneys access to him, timeously or at all, whilst he was in Police custody on the night of 8th September 2014 and morning of 9th September 2014 to consult him (Mokone) and obtain from him Power of Attorney and get him to depose to an affidavit to enable them to move an urgent application before the High Court on the night of 8th September 2014.
The court also has to decide whether such refusal or delay in granting the Applicant’s attorney permission to him constituted an infringement of the Applicant’s right to legal representation as enshrined under Section 10 of the Constitution of Botswana and access the High Court as it is entitled to in terms of Section 10 as read with Section 95 of the Constitution of Botswana.
Botswana Police Commissioner, Mr. Keabetswe Makgophe, in his response to Mokone’s accusations, through an affidavit said, “there was no denial, had the applicant’s Commissioner of Oath not been impatient, his affidavit would have been commissioned.”
“I am verily advised that it would have been very improbable to find the Honorable Judge still waiting at Lobatse after midnight for a possible urgent application whose documents/papers had not been properly registered and or served on the other party. Arguments will be made by my (Makgophe) attorneys that the detention (of Mokone) was necessary, justified and not unlawful.”
The dispute started in August 2014 when Sunday Standard newspaper edited by Outsa Mokone published a story that President Khama got involved in a car accident while driving alone at night.
Before publishing the article Mokone said he enquired about the credibility and reliability of the source but Tsimane stood by the story insisting that he contacted and for the record noted Dr. Jeff Ramsay’s comments as the President’s Spokesperson. Due to the fact that Tsimane is a senior reporter and the experience he had, Mokone said he also stood by the article.
The Sunday Standard senior reporter later disappeared and sought asylum in South Africa following an alleged tip – off by his elder brother, Clement Tsimane, a Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) agent that his life was in danger following a series of offensive stories to those in power.
According to the government’s response to the article at the time of the alleged accident, the president was neither the driver nor a passenger of the involved vehicles in the accident.
It was also alleged by the government and Makgophe in his court filing that the collision took place between a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado SUV not a black Range Rover as alleged by the paper and a private Ford Ranger not a Jeep on the A1 at Dibete.
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.
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.
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.