GABARONE, BOTSWANA. by REV T. J. MOENGA. NOVEMBER 19, 2014. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org November 2014 – Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana are legally recognized
On the 14th of November 2014, Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) was given the go ahead to register with the Botswana government. For two years, the society had been denied registration by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs on the basis that homosexuality was illegal in Botswana.
By order of the high court
However, on the 14th of November, the judge, deciding in favor of LeBaBiBo’s right to register, said: “In a democratic society such as ours, freedom of association, assembly and expression are important values duly protected by our Constitution. The enjoyment of such rights can only be limited where such limitation is reasonably justified in a democracy. It is also not a crime to be a homosexual.”
A new day begins – a day to remember
The 14th of November 2014 will remain a special day for LeGaBiBo and for all queer people of Botswana; a day of jubilee; a day to celebrate; indeed, a day of liberation! As a society, LeGaBiBo can now lobby for equal rights and decriminalization of same sex relations. They have also gained equal protection under the law. This day marks the time in Botswana when Botswana finally realized it has to appreciate, acknowledge and celebrate diversity.
Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana decries the high court’s decision
In contrast, the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana has denounced the high court ruling giving LeGaBibo the right to be legally recognized. In an interview with Gabs FM radio station, Reverend Master Matlhaope, speaking for the Evangelical Fellowship, said the Fellowship is disappointed in the high court judgment. The Reverent said it was wrong for the judge to grant an organization that promotes an illegal and immoral activity a right to be recognized. The Reverend further said the Evangelical Fellowship is calling for the government to appeal the judgment.
Pro-LGBT Christians still have work to do
This means there is more work to do in the churches in Botswana. It is now time for the church to carry out their mandate and deliver pastoral ministry even to the “other sheep” that seem to be different to the rest of the sheep. __________________________________
This article, written by Rev. T. J. Moenga in Botswana and emailed to Rev. Stephen Parelli in the Bronx on November 19, 2014, was published to the Internet from the Bronx, NY, on February 9, 2015 (with apologies to the author for publishing so late). Some miner changes were made by the editor, including the addition of paragraph headings.
Photo at right: View from a mountain top situated in Gabarone, Botswana.