SALC: Botswana’s Parliament intends to table a number of bills in the current session, one of which seeks to repeal section 164 of the Penal Code.
On 29 November 2021, the Botswana Court of Appeal issued a judgement declaring sections 164(a) and (c) of the Penal Code that prohibits consensual sex between same-sex partners unconstitutional. The Court relied on evidence that these sections have a discriminatory effect on members of the LGBTIQ+ community and breach their rights to liberty, dignity, privacy and equal protection before the law. As proven by evidence submitted before the courts, criminalising persons based on their status fuels societal stigma, discrimination, hate and violence.
The President of Botswana, H.E Mokgweetsi Masisi, in January 2022 met with LGBTIQ+ activists and asserted that through the principles of democratic governance and the rule of law, the government would comply with the decision of the Court of Appeal to protect LGBTIQ+ people.
Yet, the past week saw several pastors and politicians in Botswana calling for a debate on the Bill. Such calls ignore the fact that the Court has already ruled the criminalisation of same-sex sex to be contrary to the Constitution, the supreme law of our country.