Botswana props up Mugabe’s homosexual stance

Andrew Maramwidze – GABORONE – Deputy Speaker of parliament Pono Moathlodi has given President Robert Mugabe thumps up on his anti-gays and lesbians stance.

Speaking in Gaborone during a prevention workshop for the select parliamentarian committee on HIV and AIDS, Moathlodi said amid his aversion for Mugabe and his regime’s policies, the deputy Speaker shares the same sentiments with the veteran leader on gays and lesbians.

Unloved internationally for his dictatorship over the state of Zimbabwe, Mugabe is on record saying gays are worse than pigs.

“I have never liked Mugabe and do not agree with him on a number of issues especially his infamous land reform but I agree with him on men that have sex with other men.”

“The bible does not allow for a man to request for such from another man. When one is in prison sexually entertainment is one of the things that one should miss. Prisoners should not be exposed to sexual life,” said Moathlodi opposing calls from civil society that condoms should be made available in prisons.

He said once the nation entertain giving prisoners condoms then Christian values will be eroded in the country.

“We will be going against the principles of the holy bible,” Moathlodi said.

Opposition Member of Parliament Dumelang Saleshado says the nation seems to be going back to ‘denial mood’ by thinking that distribution of condoms will aid commission practices that are not permitted according to the law.

“We are dealing with adults that are able to make informed choice. In prison or not in prison,’ said Saleshado.

He challenged the nation to be able to build a common platform.

“We are doing well in a number of areas. It will not be wise for us to shut our eyes to certain areas of concern. Let go of some of the strong beliefs that we have.”

On the other hand Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/ AIDS (BONELA) a civil society group fight for HIV and AIDS rights is on record expressing disappointment at Cabinet’s refusal to make condoms available to prisoners.

In addition, the civil society group has been frustrated by Government in its endeveours to call for education on same sex couple in a bid to low the country’s infection rate. Botswana is one of the countries in the sub-Sahara region that has been strongly affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. And government is concerned on the unsuitability on roll out of antiretroviral drugs.

According to the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime the rate of HIV infection among prisoners in many countries are higher than in general population and risk behaviours, include consensual an non-consensual sexual activity and injecting drugs.

Meanwhile an unregistered pressure group fighting for rights of gays and lesbians in the country says their contribution to the country’s development is limited due to discrimination and stigma.

Monica Tabengwa chairperson of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) announced that the nation should embrace gays and lesbians.

“Their right to have is being curtailed, making them fail to get support, funding, resources, move around freely and participate in the development of the country. They are not being recognised as an Association. We feel that, this is very dehumanizing. Constitutions are meant to protect minorities,” said Tabengwa.

LEGABIBO is seeking a declaratory order from Lobatse high court to the effect that Section 164 of the Penal Code is offensive to the bill of rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

The section of the law criminalizes sex between people of the same sex referring to it as carnal knowledge against the order of nature.