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Former Botswana president calls for legalisation of homosexuality

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  1. Very positive. He is no longer President but it’s promising.

    And, by the way, people don’t need to understand homosexuality. I don’t get how a man can look at Tom Hardy and not want to bang him all night long. Similarly, I don’t understand heterosexuality. I don’t understand religious people. I don’t understand rap fans.

    I respect, however, their right to have consensual cross-sex relationships, follow their religions as long as they do not impose it on others and listen to rap music without disrupting others.

    1. Well said SamB

      I don’t get being heterosexual or bisexual – thats not how I am made – but I do get that other people are and should be entitled to consensual loving relationships

      I do think this is a really positive development in Botswana and for Africa, and shows that the former President is developing a more accepting viewpoint

      An article last year showed him making admissions that he could have supported gay people more when in power but chose not to do so out of political expediency. I hope this is a sign he is regretting his decisions and that Africa is beginning to hear (if not listen) to the need for LGBT rights across the continent.

      http://mg.co.za/article/2011-03-14-mogae-would-not-stick-his-neck-out-for-gays

  2. A step in the right direction, but still a bit of a loaded statement:
    “To protect them and their clients from being infected [with HIV], you have to assist them to protect themselves. I don’t think by arresting them you help them.”
    I would hope he’s not implying that all gay people are rentboys by default.
    Last time I checked gay people’s professions are as diverse as those of straight people or is he suggesting gay shop assistants engage in a knee-trembler with every purchase?

    1. i wish, id be in Ted Baker every day!

    2. Actually, for all his faults, Festus is by and large a “good guy”. What’s missing in the Pink News article is that he called for the decriminalisation of homosexuality AND PROSTITUTION. It was the clients of prostitutes that he was referring to in that statement, but editing errors have conflates the two to make him seem more homosilly than he actually is.

      1. Thanks for clarifying… I was unsure whether there was a missing qualifying statement there or whether he was applying it to all LGBT people.
        Overall I think it’s a positive step, and there are accounts of similar stuff being said in parliament when homosexuality was decriminalised in the UK back in ’67. Rome wasn’t built in a day I guess.

  3. It is positive, but….

    “Homosexuals have clients”?

    So what are the clients? Heterosexual?

    Don’t think he has thought that one through really.

    1. Commander Thor 19 Oct 2011, 8:41pm

      Sometimes meaning gets lost in translation. My mother referred to my loving relationship with my boyfriend as an “affair”, when she meant to say “relationship”. The implication was still that a loving gay relationship is as shameful as a heterosexual affair, but non-native speakers can say things they don’t exactly mean. “clients” may have been “others they meet with” or something like that.

      1. Its nothing to do with ‘non-native’ speakers. It is as simply as the case with your mum… Is she Latin?

        Glad he said it but he need be clearer. I dont understand heterosexual people or sex either and would think they are missing a lot… But I respect them. Would he call his wife a client?

  4. Could this have come about because of an intended decision by the government to cut off finanical aid to commonwealth countries which refuse to decriminalise homosexuality?

    1. It certainly wouldnt done any harm in provoking this …

  5. whymewhyme 19 Oct 2011, 8:26pm

    it is a dripping but welcome tap into the bath of humanity

  6. Uncle Festus said:

    “He said: “I don’t understand it [homosexuality].”

    he then said:

    “there are men who look at other men. These are citizens.”

    Which suggests to me that he actually does understand it after all. Well, half of it at any rate, since there are also women who look at other women. It’s really no more complicated than that, Festy, there’s nothing more to understand. Anyone who doesn’t understand it is severely mentally sub-normal.

    But that’s not what he’s trying to say, is it? What he’s actually trying to say is “I’m not gay”, and to say it as forcefully as possible he is pretending that he doesn’t even understand the concept. Which strikes me as the action of a man who is very insecure indeed in his own sexual identity.

    1. Hodge Podge 19 Oct 2011, 9:43pm

      He’s a politician, and Machiavellian as it is, he wouldn’t get a lot done for LGBT rights if people thought he might be gay.

      In the long run it might help for people to know that being an ally didn’t mean you were gay.

    2. It may be deliberately clumsy language that has an intention of saying “Look, I am not gay – but gay people have as much right to be a citizen in my country as me” which doesnt make him seem too much of a pariah in a culture that is, at best, suspicious of homosexuality and often much worse … If we look at the way LGBT people have been increasingly accepted over the past 50+ years in the UK, the pressure towards decriminalisation was a mix of strong condemnation of abuse of human rights and a slow gentle building of confidence in the population – that confidence has been built more and more and still has some way to go. There needs to be both robust campaigning and confidence building in Africa too.

    3. Sister Mary Clarence 20 Oct 2011, 12:54am

      “What he’s actually trying to say is “I’m not gay”, and to say it as forcefully as possible he is pretending that he doesn’t even understand the concept.”

      Well of course if he didn’t he’d probably find himself arrested as things stand at the moment.

      Nevertheless its positive step, when there aren’t many others to be seen in Africa at the moment, and it would be nice to think that the threat of removal of aid has had an impact

  7. What a f@@king sad world we live on when we are forced to see this as positive. “I don’t understand it.” Yeah, like I want, need or value your understanding you twat.

    1. If you are gay and you live in Botswana you desperately need and would value the understanding Mr Mogae is expressing however limited.

      Otherwise I see what you are saying, it’s so little and too late coming from a now ex-president, amazing how these epiphanies of understanding seem to arise only once people have left a position that gave them any real influence to change bad laws that are the result of anti-gay religious bigotry and hate.

  8. Gay Daily Mail Reader 20 Oct 2011, 6:39am

    We can hope that these words will become action and Botswana joins South Africa and Mozambique in legalizing homosexuality. A tide of tolerance will hopefully rise from the south of the Dark Continent.

  9. i realise that Botswana is a wealthy country by the standards of sub-Saharan Africa,

    Does Botswana still require British aid?

    If they are still in receipt of British aid money, and they do decriminalise homosexuality, then I wouild like to see all money we currently sent to Uganda to be given instead to Botswana.

    British aid money cannot solve Africa’s problems – therefore we have no obligation to continue funding genocidal dumps like Uganda.

    1. From a development and strict economic sense they require aid less than the likes of Uganda, Congo etc

      Nonetheless, the do have some services struggling and relatively low incomes, so some aid would be beneficial and if we diverted the aid it may reinforce the message of gay rights …

  10. As for the use of the word ‘client’ – well I think this is a misquotation.

    He was not only talking about the decriminalisation of gay people, but also of prostitutes (also banned in Botswana). I think he was speaking about the prostitutes when referring to ‘clients’

  11. Of all the former British African colonies, Botswana is the only one to democratically operate by the rule of law since independence and should always be supported by Britain for doing so.

  12. Well, funny that most consider Mogea’s comments as positive. For a man who sacrificed honest for political gains, he need to may to make it up.

    No one asks him to understand; he is not supposed to. But his comments strikes me as inferiority complex.

    First, HIV is not the reason we need freedom. It is our natural rights.

    Second, our fellow attracted lovers are not clients

    Third, he should be clear on what side he stands rather than sitting on a fence by justifying his halfwit sympathy.

    Stil, he is welcomed

  13. Well, it’s progress to decide that not understanding people means that you should leave them alone rather than persecute them.
    How things change in Africa. White christian missionaries in the 19th century were shocked by tribes where the chiefs had concubines of both sexes!

    1. In response to Godwyns O:

      What you say is only half the picture (some of which others have pointed-out already):

      Mogea is a member of the Commonwealth Eminent Person’s Group which has reported to the Commonwealth and put legalisation of homosexuality (amongst other crucial issues) on the agenda for the forthcoming Commonwealth conference. One of the other members of the group is openly gay.

      First, if HIV is the way to bring about mass cultural and perceptual change in Commonwealth (and other) countries, then Mogea (and other members of the Commonwealth EPG and Secretariat) are possibly wise and pragmatic to use it as a vehicle to change culture and save the misery and lives of people. Legalisation is but one step on a longer road, but a crucial and life-saving step.

      As others have said, Mogea is (and probably realises that he is) much more effective coming across as a clearly non-gay statesmen than as gay or allied to the gay cause.

      Cont…

      1. Secondly, as many others have mentioned, Mogea was probably referring to clients in relation to his proposal that prostitution be legalised.

        Thirdly, whether Mogea is in reality on the fence or not we do not know, and strategically it is of little importance. Even if he intellectually were fully supportive and understanding of gay rights, it seems fairly clear that would do little benefit gay rights in the Commonwealth (which includes a third of the world’s population) and indirectly, across the world.

        I’d rather he continued sitting ‘on the fence’ showing ‘half wit’ sympathy – yet having impact in changing perception and legislation, than that he were became a gay rights campaigner.

  14. Störm Poorun 21 Oct 2011, 3:44am

    You can listen to the BBC interview with Mogae here:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15368752

    Having heard it, it seems clear that:

    He is culpable for not addressing homosexuality at all when in Government (though says it took steps to fight HIV).

    He says he and his Government did not condemn homosexuality but simply remained silent (he makes clear inference that he does not condemn it, and he also supports legalising sex workers, and providing condoms in prisons).

    When Mogea says he “doesn’t understand homosexuality” it appears he doesn’t mean that *per se*, more that he is heterosexual himself (i.e. doesn’t understand homosexual attraction).

    Mogea’s refererence to clients was only in respect to sex workers (no gender mentioned), not homosexuals.

    This matter is not really about Mogea personally. He is an agent for change now, in Botswana, Africa (where he is highly respected), Commonwealth, and globally, and that should be valued regardless of his culpability (or not).

  15. A fantastic example of what is meant by the term “tolerance”. Not just a “live and let live” attitude towards homosexuality, but a clear understanding of the issues around it and the acceptance that gay people have the same rights as the rest of the population.

  16. Jock S. Trap 6 Nov 2011, 10:39am

    See there are voices of reason in Africa. Shame more of them don’t get heard when they desperately need to be.

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