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Nominated Cllrs: Tsogwane wields power for now


Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane is the most sought after Cabinet minister for now. The reason is plain; he is by law and purpose expected to announce the final list of nominated councillors, usually the last hope of redemption for election losers and political enthusiasts.


The minister is expected to announce appointment of atleast 133 specially nominated councillors. It is expected that majority of Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who lost in the recent general elections will make the cut.
Tsogwane told Weekend Post recently that he is still waiting for recommended names of nominees to announce the final list of those who made it to the various councils around the country.


“Remember this is a process which involves a lot of people including all political parties which participated in the just ended elections,” said Tsogwane.


Tsogwane says the list will be submitted by District Commissioners throughout the country after consulting with political parties and Dikgosi in their respective areas.


Special nomination of councillors has been a debatable matter over the years, with opposition politician questioning its purpose and fairness. In the last general elections (2009), of the 133 councillors nominated by the then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Lebonaamang Mokalake only seven belonged to the opposition while the rest were BDP members and predominately preceding elections losers.


Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Deputy President, Ndaba Gaolathe says their party has already met and submitted their wish list for specially nominated councillors.


However, a senior UDC member Abram Kesupile does not expect the nomination to yield better results for his party since there is no clear criteria used to nominate councillors. “At the moment the criteria used for selection and the final decision lies solely with the minister and based on what has happened in the past the opposition will get only few names nominated,” said the UDC deputy chairman.  


Among the nominated councillors in the last general elections who their names raised eyes bows were Thato Kwerepe who had lost 2008 party primary elections for Ngami constituency. Also nominated in 2009 were Cecilia Mlazie, wife of former Chobe MP, the late Duncan Mlazie and Gabriella Ridge, the wife of former Maun West MP Ronald Ridge. The system has always been condemned by opposition MPs as a way of bring back rejected individuals by the voters, therefore going against the wishes of the electorates.


Even in the past BDP heavy weights like former Vice President, Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe have spoken against the practice. During the 9th parliament Kedikilwe tabled a motion in parliament calling for the system to be scrapped as it had diverted from its intended purpose and instead been turned into a patronage exercise aimed at rewarding BDP activists.


Weekend Post has it on good authority those party activists, especially those who worked hard during the campaigns and those who lost in the past general elections. BDP is also said to be working on a plan that will ensue that nomination of councillors will be used to neutralize opposition in councillors were BDP numbers fell short.  


Nominated Councillors have in the past helped the ruling party to balance power in Local Authorities. There are areas where the BDP was outnumbered by a small fraction and it used the dispensation to manipulate the scales.


After the October 24th election the ruling party has control North West District Council, Francistown City Council, Central District Council, Sowa Town, North West District Council, Chobe District Council, Southern District Council, and Lobatse Town Council among others. The UDC is expected to control Jwaneng Town Council, Gaborone City Council and South East District Council.  
 

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Transgender persons in Botswana live a miserable life

23rd November 2020
Transgender persons

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.

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Khato Civils fights back, dares detractors

23rd November 2020
Khato-civil

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.

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UDC petitioners turn to Saleshando

23rd November 2020
Dumelang Saleshando

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.

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