The 14 applicants, who wish to register and associate under the name Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO), want the court to declare the decision of the minister to be in contravention of Section 3 of the Constitution. They argue that the decision denies them equal protection of the law.They want the courts to declare an earlier decision by then Minister Peter Siele, to be in contravention of Section 12 of the Constitution in so far as the said decision has the effect of hindering them in their enjoyment of their freedom of expression.
The applicants also argue that by rejecting their application to register as an association, the MLHA is violating their rights to form and join an association. The case is before Justice Terrence Rannowane.LEGABIBO's website says it was founded in 1998 under Ditswanelo - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights. It currently operates as an informal organisation under the auspices of the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).The applicants allege that on February 16, 2012, LEGABIBO lodged an application with the Registrar of Societies for the registration. But the director of Civil and National Registration rejected the application on March 12, 2012 on the grounds that the country does not recognise homosexuality. The minister rejected the applicants' appeal of the decision in October 2012.
The court case comes at a time when the church has taken a strong stance against what it says is the 'immorality and evil' of homosexuality.Weeks ago, the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB) called a press conference at which its president called for stiffer laws against what he called "immorality and criminal acts" of homosexuality.On the other hand, former President Festus Mogae has called for decriminalisation of homosexuality.