The Assistant Minister of Local government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso
The Assistant Minister of Local government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso has accused the National Aids Council (NAC) and Members of Parliament of shying away from discussinng sensitive and unpopular subjects such as homosexuality and sex work.
Assistant Minister Tshireletso’s remarks followed a presentation by NACA's Behavioural Change Interventions and Communication Director, Mr Joseph Kefas, on the national strategic framework this week at the National Aids Council.
Tshireletso like many others in attendance was of the view that the framework presentation had neglected the burning issues which former President, Festus Mogae had been militantly advocating for and defending. Mogae contended that his views are informed by studies and nothing else.
“How can we say we are progressing when we keep on expecting to be reminded that we have left out sex workers and homosexuals? When will we accept that these groups are a greater part of the problem? Numerous studies have supported this but we seem to be hell-bent on sidelining the issue at every given opportunity,” said Tshireletso.
She said a lot of money is always spent on studies to inform policies but the outcome is always disheartening, as our policies are not informed by research.
The Vice President, who is the NAC Chairperson, Mokgweetsi Masisi intervened and said his arrival did not mean that the issues will be sidelined.
“You should not worry, the issues will be discussed, in fact the government is already doing something about the issues but I am not in a position to say what exactly the outcome of those discussions and meetings will be,” he said. This was reiterated by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Ms Shenaaz El-Halabi who said the government is currently in a series of meetings to zoom into the issue.
Numerous calls for decriminalisation of these activities have hit a snag in the past and it remains to be seen what the government ‘s masterplan entails.
President Ian Khama has adopted a ‘silent diplomacy’ approach over these controversial issues and his government although acknowledging these groups’ existence has refused to decriminalise their practices. The general public and some civil society organisations seem to be against decriminalisation as well.
The National Aids Council (NAC) in 2013 delegated the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Coordinating Agency (NACA) to work on coming up with a draft policy on targeting most at risk populations groups.
The policy was a response to a study presented by the Ministry of Health that revealed that homosexuals and sex workers are abundant in Botswana and continue to be among the most vulnerable groups in the HIV/AIDS war, as they do not have programmes geared towards addressing their needs and situations.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.