Botswana High Court delays decision on whether to legalise homosexuality

Their decision has been delayed to June 11.

The High Court of Botswana has delayed its decision on whether to legalise homosexuality to June 11. The case only began being heard earlier this week, the case was due to begin back in December.

Currently, Section 164 of Botswana’s penal code criminalises “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” and people convicted can face up to seven years in jail.

Arguing in favour of the law being overturned, Gesego Lekgowe, the lawyer for the claimant, Letsweletse Motshidiemang, said: “When the laws were put in place… society was not ready to accept same sex relations.”

He argued that as homosexuality was becoming more accepted worldwide, Botswana should follow in its footsteps.

However, arguing against the law being overturned, Sidney Pilane, the government’s lawyer said: “The law should reflect on the values of society. As far as I know there haven’t been any changes in society toward gay people.”

Last year in a speech, Botswana’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, spoke in favour of LGBTQ rights, saying: “There are also many people of same sex relationships in this country, who have been violated and have also suffered in silence for fear of being discriminated. Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected.”

Speaking to Gay Star News, Ratanang Onkokame Mosweu, an LGBTQ rights commentator said there were “mixed feelings” about the delay.

“A lot of us are scared because this issue is now in the open, and people are thinking, ‘What if it doesn’t go as expected, how will this affect our work and our lives?’

“We’re anxious and excited to finally make our stand in a public space.”

Similarly, back in February, the High Court of Kenya delayed its ruling on whether homosexuality would be legalised. The ruling, which was supposed to be given on February 22, will now be given on May 24.

Judges said they had not “finalised” their decision over the ruling, and blamed “administrative challenges and full dockets.”

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