This is in the context of his previous opposition of same sex marriages. He was previously quoted as saying his position on the matter is evolving. Could this latest position and change of heart be the result of his long evolving thoughts? Could the timing of the US looming elections be a factor in his position? These are the questions that I do not have answers to and leave them to the reader to decide.
Be that as it may, one thing is clear. President Obama is the first serving US President to make his views public on this issue. And he hastened to say his views are personal and not necessarily shared with his party. One cannot regard it far-fetched to think that his party will or already has sanctioned his view. It is public knowledge that the British and American governments have lately been vocal about pushing for sexual minorities rights. They have even threatened to cut aid to countries that violate gays and lesbians rights, Botswana included. In my mind this move by President Obama is somewhat not surprising. It seems the commitment to protect rights of minorities is something that his regime feels strongly about.
Can you blame those who think it is a ploy to get more votes? I wouldn’t because his Republican rival Mitt Romney has made it clear that he is against same sex marriages hence the Obama camp moved swiftly to plug that gap. We know that there are a sizeable number of voters who regard themselves as progressives, who in turn will find this move appealing and attractive. Bearing in mind that the opposition voices are equally if not more louder and powerful, it will be dangerous to conclude that President Obama is doing this for garnering more votes and retain residency of the Whitehouse for the next four years. I think the President acted more out of conviction and support for the cause of sexual minorities rights rather than luring voters.
This is in stark contrast to what his Excellency the Former President Festus Mogae did. He has told the world via many platforms, including through BBC that he secretly supported sexual minorities rights. In fact, I heard him say on BBC that he believes that homosexuality is African and as a person he has tolerated it. Moreover, he stated that he has no problems with decriminalizing homosexuality. He has been an unpopular and yet brave guest of several presidents, except his Rre Khama, to urge them to decriminalize homosexuality. The world believes that he supports sexual minorities rights. But does he? Not so long ago he had powers to make laws and assent to laws. Did he ever make any public utterances about his support or lack thereof for gay rights? All we heard was a deafening silence from his government. At best there was denial of the existence of sexual minorities. It was only after he left office, two (2) years later, that we saw the greatest and loudest acknowledgement of sexual minorities rights. The government amended the Employment Act to, in part, prohibit dismissals on the basis of sexual orientation. Although this is remarkable, it only shows that government only cares about homosexuals taxes and not their rights.
Rre Mogae when asked why he did not openly support gay rights as a sitting President, confidently replied by saying “I did not want to lose elections for gays”. What does that mean? Does it mean that he is sending a message to Presidents like Obama to shun sexual minority rights lest they lose elections? Does it mean he sacrificed his conviction (support for gay rights) over votes? You be the judge!