A new study by the Afro Barometer indicates that a majority of Botswana citizens do not tolerate homosexuality and would not even want to work with people with such a sexual orientation, go to church with them or have them as neighbours.
The study which was conducted during the Months of June and July this year shows than more than half of the population would report involved individuals to the police, regardless of their relations to the said individual.
“Disapproval of same sex relationships varies by locality with urban residents reporting lower levels than their counterparts living in semi-rural and rural areas,” explained Professor Mogopodi Lekorwe of the University of Botswana.
Prof Lekorwe led the research team and found out that approximately six in ten Batswana would even object to sharing a church and neighbourhood with homosexual people.
The report shows that sixty-two percent (62%) of the 1200 people who were interviewed would not want to share a religious community with them, fifty-six percent (56%) would not like to have them as neighbours while sixty-seven percent (67%) would not want to work with them.
However there is a clear intergenerational pattern when comparing the disapproval across age groups, with disapproval levels increasing with age. The highest rejection levels are held by older people as people aged over 65 reported 82% rate of rejection while those aged between 18 and 29 stood at 45% in as far as workplace discrimination is concerned.
The report was released on Wednesday morning in Gaborone.
Afrobarometer is an African led research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa. Its team Botswana, which is led by Star Awards company interviewed 1 200 adults in Botswana for this particular research. According to the researchers, a sample of this size in a population of just over two million people, yields results with a margin of error of around three percent at a 95% confidence level.
Botswana laws do not make reference to homosexuality nor same sex relationships. It is the marriage Act which is particular about marriage between heterosexual beings. The penal code however makes reference to sexual intercourse “against the order of nature” and this is the only place where homosexuality is dealt with as an offence.
“The constitution embraces the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. These fundamental rights are articulated as freedom of expression, assembly and association, but the constitution outlaws same sexual acts including same-sex relationships,” Prof Lekorwe indicated.
Of late homosexuality has been a topical issue in the country since a group of Lesbians and bisexuals took government to court over its denial to register a homosexual organisation. The Lesbian, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) won the court battle at the Gaborone high court recently and the government was ordered to register the organisation.
At the time of going to print, the government had not yet made an appeal against the order despite calls from some tribal leaders and churches to do so. LeGaBiBo was also still awaiting registration confirmation from the registrar of societies.
THE BURNIGN ISSUE
In February, 2012, LEGABIBO filed an application for the registration of the organisation. The following Month in March, the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the application on grounds that “Botswana’s constitution does not recognise homosexuals.”
Last Month however, the High Court maintained that LEGABIBO’s intentions are quite harmless and in fact promote good values such as the promotion of a culture of self reliance, human rights of all people without discrimination, support of public health interests of members and education of the general public on issues of human rights amongst others.
LEGABIBO’s mandate would be “to carry out political lobbying for equal rights and decriminalisation of same sex relationships,” amongst others.
According to Lekorwe the results from the survey indicate that Batswana are not totally free in terms of civil liberties.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.