GAY GROUP TO SUE BOTSWANA GOVERNMENT

A Botswana gay rights group has threatened to sue the government because the department of civil and national registration refuses to register the organisation.

Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo) has been refused registration on the basis that its aims are contrary to the country’s penal code which outlaws homosexuality. Without the registration the group is not able to raise funds to sustain itself.

Section 164 of Botswana’s penal code states that, “any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature or has carnal knowledge of an animal, or permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature is guilty of an offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.”

According to Mmegi Online the department’s registrar can refuse to acknowledge an organisation “when it appears to him or her that the proposed society’s objectives are likely to be used for an unlawful purpose, thus disturbing the country’s peace, welfare and good order.”

LeGaBiBo says that it has informed the Attorney General that it will sue the government over the issue.

The notice by the organisation’s lawyer, Duma Boko, says that, “The Claimant holds the firm view that this matter implicates a whole array of constitutional rights and protections not least of which are the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association as well as the right to the equal protection of the law.”

According to its constitution, LeGaBiBo aims to “break down the negative image, and counter the prejudice and discrimination, currently facing the lesbian, gay and bisexual community in Botswana.”

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