We are living in interesting times, from the political atmosphere, which seems to be heating up every minute to historic judgements in our courts. The June 11 judgement by a panel of three judges; Justice Abednego Tafa, Justice Michael Leburu, and Justice Jennifer Dube, in favour of Letsweletse Motshidiemang was received with mixed feelings both locally and internationally.
The decision of the court on Letsweletse Motshidiemang vs Attorney General (LEGABIO-Amicus Curiae) had many people celebrating, and equally irked others especially the church.
Motshidiemang won the case to have Section 164 of the Constitution of Botswana, which criminalises same sex relations, repealed.
While Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) and Motshidiemang were busy celebrating their win, other people including the church were busy expressing their disappointment at the decision taken by the panel of three judges. To register their concerns about the decision, some churches and individual lobbied government to challenge the ruling, with some using aggressive or offensive language to condemn same sex relations.
It seems government has listened to the dissenting voices as the Attorney General (AG) has released a statement on the intention to appeal the bench of three judges’ decision to legalise same sex relations. Well as would be expected, the pressure from lobby groups who seemed irked and disgusted by the unanimous ruling by the three judges in favour of decriminalising homosexuality might have played a major role in the decision taken by the AG to appeal the ruling.
Whether we like it or not, there is the issue of human rights pertaining to this matter, which are rights inherent in
In making the ruling the judges rejected the laws against same-sex relationships stating that they are unconstitutional as they violate privacy, liberty, and dignity. The judges also found the laws to be discriminatory and that they do not serve public interest.
Now, the question is don’t gay people deserve the same rights as everybody else? And if not why? Of course most churches and other individuals who are against gay people enjoying rights, which may ultimately lead to same -sex marriages, basically term homosexuality as unnatural. Some even go as far as using verses from the Bible to justify their arguments against this kind of sin! Botswana enjoyed a lot of praises from the international community, following the historic ruling, but now it seems like government would like things to return to the way they were.
Yes, it is important to make consultations and listen to different sectors of the society, but it is also important for each and every citizen’s rights to be protected. How are we going to see ourselves as a progressive nation if we still close certain segments of the society out or treat them as outcasts? Let’s all come together and address this issue with sober minds.