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It is not criminal to be attracted to someone of the same sex – LEGAGIBO

Keletso Thobega

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The Botswana government should ascertain what the crime is about being sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. Lawyer Gosego Lekgowe noted this during arguments in a case in which advocacy group LEGAGIBO (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals in Botswana) with the support of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre is challenging Botswana laws on homosexuality.

Gaborone High Court one was packed to the rafters this morning as members of the gay community, media and curious members of the public converged to listen to arguments in the matter. Judges in the Bench were Abednego Tafa, Jennifer Dube and Michael Leburu.

Lekgowe further said that homosexuals cannot partake in carnal knowledge freely as it is said to be against the order of nature He said that ‘order of nature’ was referred to as ‘anal penetration. He also argued that this law was derived from the ancient Indian law (Section 377), which insists that sexual intercourse must result in conception. Lekgowe also argued that public opinion must not determine what the courts must decide, particularly in the decriminalisation case. “Public opinion on LGBT has softened and some laws have included sexual orientation as a ground for non-discrimination in employment as provided for in the Employment Act,” he said.

Lekgowe further noted that the right to dignity and privacy are rights that the Court must consider, as they are fundamental to the case. Meanwhile, Tshiamo Rantao also representing LEGAGIBO touched on how sexual orientation could be described. He referred the Court to the Rammonge case and the Yogyakarta Principles, saying that sexual orientation is purely a matter of feelings. He also argued that there is overwhelming research that there is widespread violence against LGBTI in Botswana. Rantao wondered whether there is public interest in private bedrooms, saying that the question should be what the law is doing in people’s bedrooms.

In May last year, a reportedly gay man only identified as ‘LM’ filed a petition with the High Court, arguing that the anti-homosexual laws in Botswana are unconstitutional. In his affidavit, he stated that he identifies as homosexual and had, over the years, come to accept that while he is male, he is also sexually attracted to men.

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I BUY NO POWERS

Yvonne Mooka

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Many will remember Apostle Joel Keitumele as Ntsoro the comedian who would leave people in stitches with his rib-cracking jokes.

Now an apostle who leads Heavenly International Soul church with his wife Amo Keitumele, he confided in The Midweek Sun that he has never bought powers to make himself and his church powerful as it is often alleged by members of the public.

Two years ago, there were allegations that he had lost his mind after he failed to honour an agreement with a seller of powers in Ghana. “They were saying I was mentally disturbed and that I was being tormented by a snake because I dishonoured an agreement from a seller of powers in Ghana. I have never been to Ghana and the rumours were baseless,” he said, adding that someone even lied that his aunt works at Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital and had seen Keitumele at the hospital.

He also recalled the time he was invited at Btv with now born again Shumba Ratshega. He was wearing two rings. “One was my wedding ring and the other on my right hand was a Versace. A caller asked why I was wearing the other one and there were talks that it’s for powers.” He said he took it off and gave it to the presenter to wear and that nothing happened to him.

Lately, there are allegations that he wears an eagle belt, known in street lingo as ‘Prophetic belt’and purpoted to have powers to increase miracles in church and to attract more people. It is won by several other pastors and prophets among them, Shepherd Bushiri, Alph Lukau, Passion Java and Eubert Angel. He confirmed that he has it. He however said there is nothing like a prophetic belt or prophetic shoes.

“Of recent, God released a cloud of young prophets and these like their older mentors or spiritual fathers are stylish and they like fashion. “We have tapped into that. So most of us have Versace shoes, Eagle belts because we like looking good. People refer to them as ‘Prophetic this and that’ but there is nothing prophetic about them.

It’s just that we like them but we don’t need them for powers,” he said. Keitumele confirmed that he sells the trending shoes and belts at his store in Gaborone. “We just like our belts. Nothing more. The power is in the price. Monna ke monna ka setlhako le lebante,” he said.

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LEGABIBO challenges same sex criminalisation in court tomorrow

Keletso Thobega

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The Gaborone High Court will tomorrow (Thursday) hear a case on the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Advocacy group, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals in Botswana, with the support of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre is challenging Botswana laws on homosexuality. Judges Dube, Leburu, and Tafa will hear this matter from the bench. LEGAGIBO is admitted as a friend of the court.

In May last year, a gay man only identified as ‘LM’ filed a petition with the High Court, arguing that the anti-homosexual laws in Botswana are unconstitutional. In the papers, he argued that decriminalising homosexuality is a human right and is important for everyone to feel safe and welcomed.

“Decriminalising homosexuality is about people’s lives, freedom and their right to live the life they want to and deserve. It is not only about the choice to choose who to love and sleep with but it is also about social security.” A media statement from the two parties indicates that LEGAGIBO seeks to advance submissions before the full bench of the High Court on the practical effect and social impact that sections 164 (a), 164 (c) and 167 of the Penal Code have on the daily lives and experiences of LGBT persons.

“Particularly, the submission illustrates how the criminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct limits LGBT person’s ability to access basic social services, increases their chances to discrimination and infringes on their basic human rights,” it reads.

It further states that “Botswana is a diverse society and the Constitution protects the freedom and dignity of all persons in the country, regardless of whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex.” The press release notes that “Over the past three years, the Botswana courts have shown themselves to be champions of jurisprudence which acknowledges the rights of LGBT persons and their rights to equal protection before the law.”

Section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code stipulates in part that, ‘carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature is outlawed.’ Those convicted are liable to imprisonment of up to seven years.

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