The Botswana Evangelist Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) has welcomed the decision by Government to appeal the decision of the High Court to allow the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) to legally register their organization with the Registrar of Societies.
The appeal follows EFB’s recent lobby to government to appeal the matter as they viewed the judgment “as injurious to godly norms, values, priceless principles, and indeed relegation of the Christian norms and Tswana customs to the peripheries.”
In addition, Member of Parliament for Tati West Pastor Biggie Butale had also urged the Minister to appeal the court decision. “I hope this is not the beginning of gay parades where grown men with hideous beards kiss in public and other un-wholesome demands,” Butale said last year when deliberating on the State of the Nation Address.
Government through the Attorney General had already filed appeal papers. The move follows an earlier High Court decision that ruled that LEGABIBO should be allowed to lawfully register with the department of Civil and National Registration under the auspices of Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs.
Consequently, the umbrella church organisation contended that ordering the registration of LEGABIBO whose objective is to advocate for recognition and protection of homosexuality is a hammer to the society’s moral conscience. They added that the judgment is likely to cause a spin in an acceleration of moral deterioration and moral bankruptcy which will add to the already burden of lawlessness and social ills bedeviling the society.
As a result EFB is relieved that government appealed the matter. When reacting to the appeal this week EFB President Pastor Master Obololetswe Matlhaope told this publication that they believe the Honourable Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu acted within his discretion and thoughtful judgment.
“First and foremost, we believe that the Minister as an independent man who is guided by the Executive arm of government acted within his discretion and thoughtful judgment,” Pastor Matlhaope pointed out.
The EFB leader said that the government’s decision to appeal the judgment shows that the Minister was guided by strong convictions in refusing the registration. “He is within his right to pursue those convictions,” he lamented. According to Matlhaope, the landmark High Court case was a review of the Minister’s administrative decision.
“As the EFB we believe the Minister’s decision represents the aspirations of Batswana and as such we whole heartedly support the appeal. Our country is at a point of moral quagmire, Batswana and even our State President is concerned, and we thence uphold it in prayer before the Almighty.”
Meanwhile, LEGABIBO Coordinator Anna Mmolai-Chalmers confirmed that “indeed the Government of Botswana through the Attorney General’s Chamber has appealed a decision made by the courts to register LEGABIBO to grant the organisation freedom of expression and association.”
She asserted that: “Although we acknowledge that any party to court proceedings has the right to appeal a decision to the Court of Appeal, we wish to state that we are disappointed that the government has decided to lodge an appeal, especially after international bodies such as the UN special rapporteur on Freedom of Association, has lauded the High Court judgment.”
She said LEGABIBO has of course instructed its attorneys to oppose the appeal. LEGABIBO legal representation through Dow and Associates firm are handling the matter. The matter is in the court's hands, we therefore welcome the opportunity for the Court of Appeal to deliberate on this important issue, she highlighted.
The EFB supports the appeal as it tests the assertions of LEGABIBO with the highest court in the land, EFB leader said.
The controversial but outspoken EFB was founded in 1973 by nine Pentecostal and evangelical churches. Originally led by Rev. Makhaola, then General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Botswana, it has grown over the years and now has over 35 members. The EFB is a member of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Botswana Council of NGOs.
Their mission is to impact the nation with the sound gospel of Jesus Christ and to unite and empower members to achieve this goal, being relevant to the socio-economic-political needs of the nation and they envision a whole Botswana holistically reached through combined and coordinated efforts of the evangelical church by 2016.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.