Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Anti-gay protests held against Botswana LGBTQ bill

Protest in Botswana against LGBTQ bill   -  
Copyright © africanews


Demonstrations have taken place in the streets of Botswana's capital, Gaborone, against legislation to make same-sex relations legal.

Mostly religious groups marched across the city to voice their opposition to a bill aiming to comply with a 2019 court ruling in favour of LGBTQ rights.

Botswana's High Court in 2019 ruled in favour of campaigners seeking to strike down jail sentences for same-sex relationships, declaring the punishment to be unconstitutional.

The government sought to revoke the ruling but lost in appeal in 2021. 

One demonstrator said: "We are saying no to this abomination, no.  It’s a sin. Botswana is a Christian country."

Another explained her reasons for being on the march. 

"It means that family is the strongest union in our country, not only does it reduce infant mortality rate, it strengthens the family, it helps a child in growing up with moral standards that are law-abiding in the country."

Pulafela Siele, who chairs the Evangelical Fellowship of Botswana (EFB), an umbrella body of Pentecostal and Evangelical churches, insisted the bill should be stopped.

"Now, following the ruling that the two sections in the penal codes must be deleted, we know very well and we felt that is going to legalise homosexuality. 

"Our view is not that we hate them, our view is that it is a law that is not going to benefit us as a nation."

Member of parliament, Wynter Mmolotsi added: "Well, this what Christians believe should happen and Christians clearly do not agree with this. And therefore they are giving us a guideline of how we should debate the law.

"I mean those are the dictates, I mean they are dictating to us what God dictated to us."

The protest comes amid a wider pushback against LGBTQ rights in southern Africa.

Last week, thousands of people took to the streets in Malawi ahead of a constitutional court case challenging the country's ban on same-sex relationships.

View more