A human rights group in Botswana will sue the government in a bid to have the country’s anti-gay laws declared unconstitutional.

The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA) has told the Botswana Gazette that it is in the process of finalising its suit to decriminalise homosexuality in the country.

“Yes I can confirm that plans are underway and drafting is almost complete. We are ready to file the papers before Court,” said BONELA Director Uyapo Ndadi.

Male and female homosexuality, described as “unnatural offences”, are illegal under the country’s Penal Code with penalties including seven years imprisonment.

Attempts by Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) to officially register the organisation in order to access funding, have been repeatedly rejected by the government.

Earlier this month, the Deputy Speaker of the Botswana National Assembly, Pono Moatlhodi, called gays “demonic and evil” and said that if it was up to him he would have those “who practice homosexuality” killed.

LEGABIBO responded with a press release slamming anti-gay politicians and religious leaders.

“Politicians use the rhetoric against same sex behaviour to detract people from the real issues facing their countries such as HIV/AIDS, poverty and human rights abuses,” it said.

“Religious leaders in Botswana, especially evangelists, have been duped by their western counterparts into implementing an agenda that has little to do with improving the moral fibre of Africa…”

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