As a young gay man in Botswana, it is quite disturbing to hear of draft strategies to address key populations on HIV and STIs by the so called Ministry of Health. Botswana has and is always being praised for its democratic rule, which of course is seen by none residents of Botswana. Our leadership is drunk now. Not so long ago the president simply said being gay was a private thing, apparently not anymore. It is already tough not to have the country recognize me legally or even cater for me when drawing up health interventions to cater for at least my well-being.
If they are going to arrest suspects and detain them where are they going to keep us? It is so sad that already my own family is scared and worried for my safety. Ministers and other people voted into leadership must seek advice from people who know and understand the issues on the ground both professionally or personally and not act with some egocentric stunt like the draft the ministry proposed. The government must accept that we exist and should therefore create proper health interventions to cater for us and educate their nurses and doctors on gays, lesbians and sex work issue. It would be a pleasure to tag along the people whom we sleep with daily, not forgetting the people who drafted the strategy.
It is already bad that I have to be secretive of my sexuality so that I do not face discrimination from the government while my community and family members know and have no problem with it. Why do I have to pay for the incompetence and ignorance of the ministry of health?
I am tired of voting for years with no results and now since I have no legal recognition, my vote should also not have a legal recognition. The country is moving towards exploitation, deceit and destruction. I took part in the MSM (men having sex with other men) study with confidence to inform the public, to instill and build confidence in myself that there is hope. Do I have to flee my country do find inner peace and feel safe? The pillars of vision 2016 are never going to be reached. We need leaders who understand the dynamics of growth, the people who bring services without any discrimination, and the people who serve the people and not use or manipulate them. Political bootlickers are the very people with no sense of direction but a sense of high importance and are egotistic.
• Mr President please answer me:
• Are you happy living and taking pride in the disunity of the people?
• Are you happy with the fact that the nation is falling apart?
• Do you believe that not all animals are equal?
• Is it democratic to deny me my right to health and see your ministry threaten me for it ignorance?
I miss the days of former president Festus Mogae. He had compassion for the nation, vision and most of all though he may have not changed the constitution to recognize us; he protected his people without question. The peace is shaken and stirred. Rea gatellwa (we are oppressed) in our country, from gays to the population in general. I am not surprised at our leaders, but if they are not careful, the demise of this country is closer than tomorrow. Botswana’s leaders are hostile, power hungry and willing to do anything to sustain the ‘reputation’. At least now that should anything happen to me, my family and the world will know that my government did it to me. I wonder if being gay does make me any less of a human or citizen of this country.
Thuto Iketleng (not real names)