While many other countries in Africa also penalise homosexuals, in a welcome move, former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, appealed to African leaders not to enact laws that criminalise homosexuality and sex work.
Warning that these laws make it hard to fight HIV and AIDS, he told an audience at the State House in Lusaka, Zambia last month that homosexuals and sex workers were part of society and mustn’t be stigmatised or discriminated against.
Mr Mogae who chairs a team of prominent African anti-AIDS activists said that he had been engaging with government in Botswana to repeal the law that criminalises homosexuality. Botswana has not prosecuted anyone over the last three years for being homosexual, despite homosexuality being illegal.
“We welcome the comments from Mr Mogae. He is right. Most at risk populations especially men who have sex with men, transgender people and sex workers are very vulnerable to social rejection, criminalisation and discrimination. All this seriously undermines access to HIV prevention programmes,” said Christine.