March 2011-November 2014
By coincidence I arrived in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, on a quiet yet historic day of human rights in Botswana: for the first time ever a law suit was filed against the government of Botswana claiming that the existing law criminalizing homosexual behavior (not ‘being’ homosexual) is unconstitutional. (photo right, parliament building).
The suit was jointly filed by LeGaBiBo gay organization (Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana) and a Botswana human rights organization, Bonela (Botswana Network on Ethics, Laws and HIV/AIDS)who have been planning the submission for months. At the press conference the director of Bonela described how the law unfairly discriminates against a certain portion of citizens and is therefore against the constitutional guarantee of equal rights.
In their joint press release they stated: “Homosexuality has been in African culture since time immemorial; it is actually homophobia that is ‘un-African’. it was the European colonialists and preachers who imported the hatred against same sex behaviour. They brought the criminal categorization of that behavior. The acts were indigenous. The name and the crime were imported.”
Six months later Legabibo withdrew their suit in order to better prepare it. Then in 2014 they brought it back and successfully won their case against the government–the first of its kind. They are now a legally registered social group. See this report.