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‘My life is a living hell’

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A Zimbabwean double amputee, Gift Ncube who received a lot of public sympathy after a farmer, Keitumetse Khunou shot him in 2013 over a payment dispute thereafter losing both arms, says that his life is a living hell.

This is because his former employer, Khonuo has not honoured terms of agreement to compensate him for his lost arms. As of September 2017, the two through their lawyers agreed on an out of court settlement in which Khonou undertook to give him 20 goats and eight heads of cattle to start a new life. Khunou, through his lawyers K. Sekgabo Attorneys further proposed to transfer his rights and title in respect of his only residential house consisting of a two-bedroom house, main house with two rooms, toilet bath and a kitchen situated at Radisele.

They also agreed that they were going to pay, Ncube a sum of P100 000, which was proposed to be paid on or before the end of May 2018. However, Ncube through his lawyers, Chibanda Makgelemele & Co said May was far and proposed end of February 2018, which was accepted.

At one point, the parties agreed to pay P125 000 from the initial P130 000 demanded by Ncube, but Khunou’s lawyers said he could pay him P22 000 per month commencing December 1, 2017.
Narrating his story, Ncube cut a frustrated figure. “I now knock on people’s doors, asking for money to buy food. This is not who I am and who I had thought I’d be at any point in my life. This man has destroyed my life and I’m finding it hard to accept that I don’t have my hands,” he said.

He stated that Khunou’s lawyers had told him that their client was not cooperative. “They even told me to seek the assistance of the media,” he said, adding that life is hard as he has a three year old daughter to look after.

As of May 7, 2018, the parties went to the High Court where there was also another settlement made regarding compensation. Khunou signed to give Ncube his plot in Radisele, with its two houses. The agreement was that should he fail to procure transfer of the property to Ncube through the Landboard, then he shall within six months of failure to procure transfer cause it to be sold at a price to be agreed by both parties and the proceeds shall be paid to Ncube.

The agreement also entailed eight cows and 20 goats, and P130 000 payment in installments of P5 470 per month commencing March 31, 2018 until May 1, 2020. The court papers have the certificate of Customary Court Grant, which is yet to be given to Ncube.

The shooting incident happened at Khunou’s ploughing field at Diphateng lands near Radisele where he had temporarily engaged Ncube to de-bush his field.Meanwhile, Ncube said he has opened an account with a local bank where he wanted to save money for Myo-electric prosthesis. Quotations from Gaborone Private Hospital show that he needs P172 500 to get it done. The system consists of wrist insert, wrist/elbow unit, functional hand, prosthetic glove, cable above elbow, harness above elbow and prosthetic sheath.

Khunou’s lawyer Kgololesego Segabo confirmed that there was a settlement agreed that was signed between his client and Ncube. “What is left is for my client to act on the agreement. He is in the process of mobilising resources to honour the agreement,” he said.

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Gays, Lesbians look up to Masisi

Yvonne Mooka

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Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans-gender and intersex persons (LGBTI) want President Mokgweetsi Masisi to allow same sex relationships which to date, are deemed unlawful in Botswana.

Masisi had recently called for the respect and protection of LGBTI persons’ rights at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence on Women and Children last week. His utterances on the matter, enlisted words of praise and admiration from the LGBTI community would then pen him a letter of gratitude while also laying bare some of their nagging concerns.
“There are also many people of same-sex relationships in this country who have been violated and have also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated. Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,” Masisi stated at last week’s launch.

In their letter directed at the president, members of Lesbians Gays Bisexual of Botswana (LEGABIBO) thanked him for these words, saying they were thankful to his affirmation and mentioning of their ordeals and suffering. The president’s public acknowledgement of violations directed at members of this marginalised community, and his recognition of the discrimination and the resultant fear generated by all these, were particularly a source of inspiration to the concerned group.

These LEGABIBO members added that they are grateful to hear a sitting President speak openly and publicly on the need to protect those in same-sex relationships who have been violated.
“We are pleased that you named aloud the violence that members of our community suffer in their daily lives. We are writing this letter to encourage you to continue your efforts in ensuring that the human rights of all persons are upheld regardless of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

This is an example of good governance and respecting the rule of law,” says their letter. They further urged Masisi to raise expectations within Parliament for zero-tolerance of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, verbal or otherwise, urging his office further to make efforts to decriminalise consensual same-sex relationships, stating that Section 164 of the Penal code, which criminalises such relationships, fuels the violence, discrimination, suffering and fear.

“We are particularly interested in what you will do about this section of the law. Because this unjust law is the basis of violence directed at members of our community, your planned actions regarding this matter are of our primary and highest interest,” stated LEGABIBO. They also impressed upon the president to address the gender markers on their birth certificates, Omang and passports, adding that these markers were problematic and caused fellow citizens who identify as transgender and gender non-conforming to experience discrimination in all walks of life.
On related matters, they pleaded with the president to protect members of the LGBTI community from public violence and humiliation, citing a recent example where a transgender woman was attacked in Gaborone.

Religious leaders were neither spared as the concerned group also called on the president to protect members of their community against these religious leaders who fuel hatred towards them. “While we respect sincerely-held faiths in Botswana, we cannot condone those who preach inflammatory, discriminatory messages towards those who only seek to love members of the same sex,” says the letter, adding that the president should make a statement to all civil servants – teachers, healthcare workers, police and all service providers – that LGBTI people are citizens of this country, and like all other citizens, cannot be denied services available to the general public.

Members of the LGBTI community in Botswana say they are looking forward to Masisi’s leadership and a new approach to issues concerning sexual orientation and gender identity. “In conclusion, Your Excellency, we ask you to make it clear to all politicians that members of the LGBTI community are not amused hearing that politicians who support our rights will lose elections; hearing that we are to blame for lack of rain; and hearing religious and cultural doctrines that seek to disempower us. However, like you, we are interested in open dialogue to promote the human rights of LGBTI,” states the letter.

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AP’s varsity don enters lion’s den

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Senior Lecturer at the University Botswana (UB), Dr Kaelo Molefhe wants to represent the people of Gaborone Bonnington North constituency in Parliament from 2019, and he is convinced he will prevail over the formidable political trio of Duma Boko, Robert Masitara and Anna Motlhagodi.

It is an open secret now, that the constituency will see a fierce battle involving the Alliance for Progressives (AP) represented by Molefhe, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) represented by Boko, Motlhagodi of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) as well a Masista who has indicated that he will be in the race as an Independent Candidate. Although he claims to be unperturbed by the collective political prowess of the other trio, Molefhe still faces a mammoth task of not only ousting incumbent MP Boko who is also Leader of Opposition in Parliament, but also has to convince the people of the affluent constituency that his new party is an entity they can trust with their lives.

Add to that the popularity of the other two contestants. The BDP’s Motlhagodi is an already established politician in the area, having been there and garnering thousands of votes in the area as a candidate of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) from which she has since defected. On the other hand, Masitara has been the area MP, having been voted into the constituency between 2009 and 2014. Although he could not win against Boko in 2014, he was still voted by close to 5000 people. Thus Molefhe will be seen as a minnow – an underdog hoping to do the Donald Trump against the more popular figures of this race. US president Donald Trump was seen as a minnow and was given no chance against Hilary Clinton in that country’s last elections, and Molefhe has such David and Goliath stories to take solace in.

But the constituency itself has a plethora of problems waiting to be unravelled. With a population of 45 688, Gaborone Bonnington North is made up of six (6) wards – Boseja, Diphetogo, Moselewapula, Tlogatloga, Itumeleng and Bosele. A simple random survey conducted in the constituency showed that sections of the community are already unhappy that no Member of Parliament has been able to salvage them from the myriad of issues they have to deal with everyday. They neither had any flattering words for the incumbent, a powerful politician in his own right, thus casting aspersion on whether the new entrant will inspire better confidence. “We really do not know our MP.

The last time we saw him was when he was campaigning for the 2014 General Elections,” lamented a resident, who went on to catalogue their concerns in the constituency. “We do not have a government primary school in this area and are forced to send our children to far-away places like Mogoditshane, which is expensive,” said the resident, pointing also to the dangers posed by bushes in the area, which are a breeding ground for crime, saying they need to be urgently cleared.

Speaking with The Midweek Sun, the AP’s parliamentary candidate, Molefhe, said he was alive to the challenges the residents grapple with, adding that it was the gaping hole of no political action in the area that inspired him to want to go to Parliament to help address the situation. With his uppermost priorities centred around education, especially investing in the youth, he aims to tackle the absence of government primary schools in Blocks 6 and 7 so that children in the constituency can enjoy unfettered access to education.

Molefhe also pledged to address the scourge of drugs and alcohol abuse as well as youth unemployment, which he says have reached crisis proportions in Gaborone West Phase 2. “Among other things, we need to come up with short-term training that will equip the youths of the area with skills,” he quipped. He has in mind equipping youth with practical skills to be able to perform small jobs like fixings electrical faults and refrigeration repairs among other essentialities, which are commonly done by expatriates.

He said AP considers the youth as the key components in the improvement of the country hence, “we need to prioritise and invest wholly in them.” Repeated efforts to reach the other three (3) candidates proved futile as their mobile phones went unanswered, and they could not respond to text messages sent to them.

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