|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
Infuriated gays and lesbians of Botswana have fired back at Deputy Speaker of Botswana’s National Assembly Pono Moathlodi, who recently told a delegation on HIV prevention that he would “never tolerate” gays and lesbians, stating that he (Moatlhodi) must think thoroughly before speaking and evaluate the potential impact his utterances might have in the lives of other people.
It is alleged that during a meeting held by Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and Aids , aiming to discuss how to prevent HIV transmissions in prisons, Moatlhodi said he agrees with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe that gays’ behavior is that of Western dogs.
“I don’t like those gay people and will never tolerate them, they are demonic and evil. When there are so many women in this country (Botswana), why would anyone choose to have sex with another man?” he reportedly said.
Annoyed by the comments, a member of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) Caine Youngman said, “Moatlhodi is a leader and he needs start acting like one. What makes him think he is more Motswana than me, what defines a Motswana? I went through a lot to let anyone treat me or insinuate that I am a second class citizen
He added, “Moatlhodi should remember that he is sitting in parliament because the people of Botswana, including gays and lesbians voted for him and that he gets paid because gays and lesbians of Botswana also pay their taxes.
In an effort to bust the myths that gay people learnt the sexual orientation from the West and that they were often victims of molestation, Youngman clarified, “I never resided in the West nor have I ever attended any school to be taught how to be Gay. I was never molested nor do I tolerate molesting so why am I being called a western dog, a pervert, wrong and evil.”
Botswana is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which binds every member state to abide by its regulations.
Article 1 of the (ICCPR) states, “all people have the right of self-determination, by virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
A report titled Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Botswana states that the LGBTI community, despite the international protection of the (ICCPR), continues to face denial of protection on basic human rights based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and personal expression.
Article by: Peter Matsebula