THE BOTSWANA High court announced today that it has taken a ruling to scrap laws that criminalise same-sex relations and impose up to seven years in prison.
The ruling by Justice Michael Leburu states that the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest.
Justice Leburu said noting that discriminatory law not only serves as a detriment to LGBTQ people, but holds back all of society.
A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness. Societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity,” he said.
The case was brought to court in March by Letsweletse Motshidiemang (21), a student at the University of Botswana, who argued that society had changed and that homosexuality was more widely accepted, during recent interviews.
He was quoted saying in the local newspaper: “Being a homosexual is not something new in my life, it is something, that I have learnt to live with growing up since the age of ten (10). I am in a sexually intimate relationship with a man. I have no doubt that this will be the case for the rest of my life. My friends, roommates at the University of Botswana have accepted me, even at the University of Botswana I feel free and accepted.”
Under section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code, “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” was an offense that carried a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. Section 167 made “acts of gross indecency” -whether in public or private -- a punishable offense, with up to two years in prison.