General News

Botswana rejects bid to criminalise same-sex relations

Rachel Badham December 2, 2021

Bostwana’s Court of Appeal has officially rejected a bid to reinstate a colonial-era law that criminalises same-sex relations in what Rightify Ghana has dubbed a “huge win” for the country’s LGBTQ+ community. The original law was repealed in 2018, but soon faced challenges from attorney general Abraham M. Keetshabe, who launched an appeal to reintroduce it into the country’s legal code. 

However, on November 29, the Court of Appeal closed Keetshabe’s case, with judge Ian Kirby saying that the laws banning same-sex relations “have outlived their usefulness, and serve only to incentivise law enforcement agents to become key-hole peepers and intruders into the private space of citizens”.

Sethunya Mosime, chair of the Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana, hailed the court’s decision, telling Reuters that it will “forever change the landscape of democracy, human rights and equality in Botswana. Finally the state will have no business in what two consenting adults do in their privacy.” 

Although same-sex couples will no longer face persecution, same-sex marriage and civil partnerships continue to be illegal in Botswana, with LGBTQ+ activists urging the government to address this issue. Similarly, discrimination is only illegal in some contexts, with trans and gender non-conforming citizens having no protection from employment discrimination.