The Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security has reportedly appointed a taskforce to harmonise the Penal Code of Botswana and the Children’s Act.
The idea is to increase the age of consent from 16 to 18, following last year’s motion by Specially elected MP Bogolo Kenewendo.
It is hoped that this motion will see the light of day during the November session of Parliament.
The Penal Code says a child under 16 years of age cannot consent to sex. Section 147 of the Penal Code reads: “Any person who unlawfully and carnally knows any girl under the age of 16 years is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for life, with or without corporal punishment.
“Any person who attempts to have unlawful carnal knowledge of any girl under the age of 16 years is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years, with or without corporal punishment.
It shall be a sufficient defence to any charge under this section if it appears to the court before whom the charge is brought that the person so charged had reasonable cause to believe and did in fact believe that the girl was of or above the age of 16 years or was his wife”.
But Chapter 28:01 of the Children’s Act says a child means any person who is below the age of 18 years.
Our Children’s Act not only gives effect to Botswana‘s obligations in terms of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child regarding the wellbeing of children, but to also promote the wellbeing of families and communities in Botswana.
In most countries, especially in Europe age of consent is 16 years. But there are other European countries at which age of consent is 14 years while for some it is 15 years.
The country with the lowest age of consent in the world is Angola and it is set at 12. It defies logic to allow a mere 12-year-old to consent to sexual intercourse.
At that age a child should concentrate more on books and sexual intercourse should not even cross their mind.
Only responsible adults should be allowed to have intercourse.
Hence we welcome efforts by the ministry to harmonise the Penal Code and the Children’s Act.
“The best way to teach our kids is to model good behavior for them.”
- Jean Chatzky