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Botswana’s high court to rule on anti-gay laws

Homosexual acts are outlawed in Botswana under the country’s penal code of 1965.

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Botswana's high court to rule on anti-gay laws
(File photo)

Botswana could decriminalise gay sex on Tuesday when its high court is due to rule in a landmark case being watched across Africa after Kenya recently upheld its own anti-homosexuality laws.

Homosexual acts are outlawed in Botswana -one of Africa’s most stable, democratic nations -under the country’s penal code of 1965.

An unnamed applicant is challenging two sections of the code that threaten offenders with a jail sentence of up to seven years.

Last month, Kenya’s high court refused to scrap laws criminalising homosexuality, dealing a blow to the country’s gay community that rippled across a continent where homophobia is rife.

Gay rights organisations had hoped Kenya would follow in the footsteps of African nations like Angola, or those further afield like India, and end decades-old laws which criminalise gay sex.

“After an effort by activists to decriminalise same-sex relations through Kenya’s High Court met a bitter defeat last month, all eyes are on Botswana,” Neela Ghoshal, a specialist in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender law at the Human Rights Watch group, told reporters.

“A positive ruling would give hope to an embattled but resilient African LGBT rights movement.

“It would also demonstrate that Botswana takes seriously its commitments to equality and non-discrimination.”

Twenty-eight out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws penalising same-sex relationships, according to Ghoshal.

Plea for tolerance –

At the Botswana high court hearing in Gaborone in March, lawyers read a statement from the applicant.

The laws “limit me to interact with others who identify in the same way for fear of imprisonment,” said the applicant identified only by the initials LM.

“We are not looking for people to agree with homosexuality but to be tolerant.”

The state argued that Botswana society was not yet ready to change its attitude towards homosexuality.

But Botswana, a sparsely populated country of just two million people, has shown signs of increasing tolerance of sexual orientation in recent years.

In 2016, the country’s appeal court ruled that the government was wrong to refuse to register an organisation that represents homosexuals and other minority sexual groups.

Activists had launched that legal battle after the Home Affairs ministry rejected an application to register the Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) organisation.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi last year told a meeting on gender-based violence that there are “many people of same sex relationships in this country who have been violated and have also suffered in silence”.

“Just like other citizens, they deserve to have their rights protected,” said the president at the December gathering.

Botswana, in southern Africa, is famed for its abundant wildlife and its diamond mines.

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Gambians Decry Price Hike in Basic Commodities

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Low-income earning Gambians have expressed concerns, frustration and dissatisfaction over the daily surge in prices of basic food commodities in the markets.

The west African country has witnessed incessant spike in the prices of basic food commodities in recent months.
A situation that has been a cause for alarm among traders, retailers and consumers.

Many have expressed dissatisfaction and uncertainty regarding daily survival for themselves and their dependants.

Market survey in the West Coast Region shows that the cost of fish has gone up 30%, sugar which sold for D1250 in 2020 now costs D1350, imported rice now costs D1250 as against D1075 which it sold for in December.

Amid increasing political fragmentation, the hope inspired by President Adama has since faded.

Barrow who has promised far reaching economic stimulus lifted in September, the state of emergency which may ease gradual economic recovery.

Vendors and traders are unable to sell their wares due to hike in prices of commodities and dwindling purchasing power. Many customers are left with lesser options due to the prices charged.

Gambia’s inflation rate stands at 6.04%, a slight drop from 6.15% in 2020.

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Rwanda to Upgrade Covid-19 Testing to Detect Variants

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, Rwanda has decided to increase the number of tests done daily.

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Rwanda is planning an upgrade of its testing capacity to enable the country to trace the new COVID-19 variants in the country. 

The Covid-19 variants which were first identified in South Africa and the United Kingdom are believed to be more transmissible than the original Covid-19 virus, raising concern that the new strains may be more deadly. 

On national television, Rwanda’s Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije said: “We haven’t yet tested and identified a Covid-19 variant…we are still working on this capability, and soon, we will be having it in place.”

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the country decided to increase the number of tests done daily.

On Saturday, Rwanda resumed mass testing of residents, running a three-day exercise.

On Monday, 336 new positive cases out of the 7,867 tests done were reported in the country, bringing the total number of infections to 12,975. Three deaths and 261 recoveries were also recorded in the country on the same day, bringing total recoveries to 8,420 recoveries and death toll to 174. As of Monday, active positive cases stood at 4,453.

Vulnerable groups, including the elderly, were among those tergetted in the mass testing.

The country’s Ministry of Health set a target of 20,000 people on a cell and village level in the capital Kigali.

The aim of the mass testing is to determining how many infections are in Kigali and linking patients to their residential areas for better management.

“On the first day, among 4,500 tests taken, 200 of them were positive and above 70 years of age. We are confident that once we know who is infected and where they are, treatment will be more effective,” Dr Ngamije said.

Rwandan last week re-instated a 15 days lockdown in Kigali following a spike in Covid-19 infections and deaths. Movement remains restricted nationwide.

Recently, the country imported 18,000 doses of the oral drug -Favipiravir which was used to treat influenza in Japan in 2014, that has now been approved for Covid-19 treatment by some countries.

Seven deaths were recorded in Rwanda on Saturday, the highest mortality rate so far in a day though the government is now optimistic that the new treatment will curb deaths.

Rwanda is also expecting the first one million doses of Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine after acquiring the required refrigeration units. At least 500,000 people are expected to be the first beneficiaries. Frontline workers, the elderly, and those with underlying conditions are to be among these beneficiaries.

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What You Need to Know About “Omo Ghetto, the Saga”

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“Omo Ghetto” ( The Saga), a movie by Actress Funke Akindele-Bello, a.k.a “Jenifa” has proven to be Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie of all time.

Reports have it that the 2020 comedy film has broken Kemi Adetiba’s ‘The Wedding Party’ four year record of being the highest grossed Nigerian movie.

In a statement released by Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), the 2020 comedy film has so far grossed N468,036,300 after holding the number one spot for its third week in a row.

“Omo Ghetto’ has officially broken a four year record by knocking off Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 Comedy movie” The Wedding Party”

The movie had been Nollywood Highest Grossing Movie with N453,000,000, in third place and ‘The Wedding Party 2 with N433,197,377,” the statement said.

Jenifa’s latest feat is probably the most shocking news in recent times, and this is because, the movie was released amidst a pandemic that crippled the film industry for months, and film makers were not making sales like they should.

The comedy movie, released on Christmas day 2020, is a sequel to 2010 trilogy ‘Omo Ghetto’, and follows the chaotic life of Shalewa aka Lefty (Funke Akindele)

Lefty (Funke Akindele) struggled between living a life of wealth and comfort provided by her adopted mother and returning to her ghetto lifestyle.

The comedy stars Funke Akindele in the dual role of Ayomide and Lefty, Chioma Akpotha (as Chummy Choko), Eniola Badmus (as Busty), Bimbo Thomas (as Nikky), Akah Nnani (as Mario), Alex Ekubo (Obi Wire), Zubby Michael (as Aza Man), Deyemi Okanlawon (as Stone), Timini Egbuson, Nancy Isime, Paschaline Alex, Mercy Aigbe, Yemi Alade among others.

The original film, “Omo Ghetto”, starred Rachel Oniga, Taiwo Hassan, Yinka Quadri, Eniola Badmus, Ronke Ojo and some others.



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