Former Cabinet Minister David Magang has revealed that the reason he delayed launching his new book, “Delusion of Grandeur,” was because of the advice vented by his family to wait for October 2014 general elections in order to avoid being blamed for Botswana Democratic Party’s poor showing.
Magang said the book was completed in 2013 and when he was about to approach the publisher, his family advised against such move because he could have been blamed for the party elections result in case the opposition gave the party a hiding. The Magang family understood that the book, in the former Minister’s usual element would divide the opinion and prove to be controversial.
Magang’s first book, “The Magic of Perseverance,” which was an autobiography was controversial as Magang bluntly attacked his former government and party colleagues over a number of policy issues including diamond beneficiation, citizen empowerment and favouritism of foreign owned businesses at the expense of Batswana by the government.
His second book is no different, and in a party which was already ailing ahead of the elections, the decision not to publish back in 2013 made perfect sense for Magang. In the aftermath of the 2014 general elections, BDP emerged from the elections bruised, losing a significant number of strongholds to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in the process. Its popular vote fell for the first time in its history to 47 percent.
Magang said that the results would have turned out even worse had he published before the elections and he would have been blamed for aiding opposition to take power with his excessive criticism of his own party and a government he was once part of. “We had to wait because I was also not in a hurry, and had to avoid a situation where the opposition young Turks had a field day in using the book as reference,” he said.
Magang said he was aware that the former Speaker of the National Assembly Margaret Nasha’s “Madam Speaker Sir” received its own share of blame for the party’s poor performance, adding that, had he too published earlier he would have been equally blamed.
Magang also shared his worries over a growing trend in which people are victimized for expressing their views by publishing books, saying it could be the reason former influential politicians did not write or publish their own books.
He also bemoaned the prohibitive publishing process saying it deterred a lot of people from publishing their own books. He said publishers are skeptical about publishing anyone’s book in the fear of not selling enough copies, and therefore not making profit.
Magang further expressed the desire to see the University of Botswana establishing its own press for the purpose of publishing books mainly for academic purposes. Magang says it was a world trend for universities to have their own press to easily publish journals and books from their academic staff.
Professor Brothers Malema, a guest of honour at the book launch said the unapologetic book embodied the current state of affairs and why Botswana has not prospered contrary to what the world has been made to believe by the international credit institutions.
Malema observed that while Magang is not an economist by training, the book is up to standard and somehow exceeded expectations; he encouraged local economists and academics alike to read the book.
The launch of the book was attended by high profile personas in form of ambassadors, Members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers (present and former), and other influential members of the society.
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.