GCC adopts motion to decriminalize homosexual sex
Gaborone council has adopted a motion to request government to consider decriminalization of same sex sexual activities to support HIV/ AIDS programmes and policies.
When presenting his controversial motion before packed council chambers on Wednesday, Umbrella for Democratic Change, (UDC) councilor for Marulamantsi/Phase 4, Sergeant ‘Yellowman’ Kgosietsile, argued that decriminalization of homosexual sexual activities would contribute significantly to the fight against HIV/AIDS and related infections.
“A report from the Ministry of health has shown that people who practice same sex are at a higher risk of contracting HIV. It has also shown that such people often don’t seek medical assistance for fear of victimization since same sex activities are illegal,” Kgosiitsile noted.
In an impassioned plea for his motion to be adopted, the gay rights activist said, “I would like to implore this August house to think differently about homosexuals. They are our leaders, our fathers, our brothers and our children.”
Using statistics to support his argument, Kgosietsile further noted that the United Nations 2010 report has shown that 67% of people in Sub Saharan-African countries are living with HIV/AIDS while the Ministry of Health report shows a growth of 17.5 to 18.5-infection rate among people who engage in homosexual sexual activities.
BCP councilor for govt ward in Gaborone central constituency, Mohammed Sobhan who seconded the motion said he would soon table another motion calling for legalization of gay marriages.
“MPs are afraid to debate gay rights because they are afraid it would impact negatively on general election outcome, which leaves us with no choice but to speak out for these minority group. This is a start, but what would be the point of advocating for homosexuals to be allowed to have sex if they cant marry” Sobhan asked in an interview after the full council meeting.
Another BCP councilor and an ordained pastor, Oarabile Motlaleng said there were many people who practice homosexual sex that are in the closet and are therefore embarrassed to seek medical help for sexually related diseases, but once that practice is decriminalized some might come out in the open.
“ I can not hide behind religion. I have to speak out because it is the right thing to do. In April 2014, I was detained in prison and I can tell you that there is a need for prisoners to be provided with condoms. Only if same sex activities are decriminalized can we effectively curb the rising HIV/AIDS infection rate,” Motlaleng argued.
Gaborone City Mayor Thutwe said the motion would have to be channeled to the right authorities with relevant powers to advocate for change of laws.
For her part the Director of Bonela, Cindi Kelemi applauded Kgosietsile for being a champion of human rights. “Hopefully the motion will prevail over parliament, I am excited about the outcome so far,”Kelemi said.
MIXED VIEWS OVER GAY SEX
A random snap survey carried out on the streets of Gaborone has shown that city dwellers have reacted with mixed feelings towards a possible decriminalization of homosexual sex.
Samuel Joki, 51 said legalization of such acts would be a sign of the end times.
“If we are to do that we might as well legalise and accept cannibalism. Biblically the act is not allowed and never will be,” he said
Masego Kerebogile, 35 welcomed the efforts to advocate for gay rights.
“ I have a homosexual family member and I feel that he has every right to enjoy his sexual choice. It is a great move, may God bless councillor Kgosietsile,” she said.
Tshenolo Moruakgomo, 36, strongly condemned the move.
“ Homosexuality is just a trend among the youth copied from the West. I’m totally against this practice, it is not part of our culture,” he said.
Nonofo Sadiloeto, 24 expressed concerns that decriminalization of same sex sexual activities would negatively affect population increase. “God created Adam and Eve so that they multiply, same sex sexual activities cannot produce children. It is a crazy idea,” she said.
Wazha Makholwa, 47, said the motion was great because it would encourage tolerance and acceptance. “ I have a friend who is homosexual, and I do not see anything wrong with his sexual preference. Legalising homosexual sex might just help him come out of the closet and be free,” he said.
Pear Serero, 23, said decriminalization of same sex sexual relations could help in the fight against HIV/AIDS virus. “Some are often cagey about their sexual conditions because it is not legal for gays to have sex, even when they get sick they won’t go to the hospital because of the fear, she said.