Botswana

  1. Botswana prosecutors mull extradition for ex-president

    Shingai Nyoka

    BBC News

    Ian Khama
    Image caption: Ex-Botswana President Ian Khama has said his life is under threat

    Botswana’s prosecuting authority says it is considering applying for the extradition of former President Ian Khama from South Africa.

    Earlier on Monday, Mr Khama failed to appear in court for a second time for his trial on firearms charges.

    He has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa since last November, citing alleged threats against his life and the alleged harassment of his family members by the current government.

    The trial was postponed to the end of August, as the prosecution considers applying for Mr Khama’s extradition.

    His co-accused, including the former heads of intelligence and police services were in court today where a fifth person, a former procurement manager was added to the group.

    They face a combined total of more than 30 charges of theft and unlawful possession of firearms.

    Mr Khama said he acquired the firearm lawfully during his presidency.

    The trial marks an extraordinary fallout between him and his successor President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

    The two have clashed over policies and Mr Khama has emerged as a strong critic of the government.

  2. Botswana's ex-president dismisses charges as fabricated

    Ian Khama
    Image caption: Former President Ian Khama fled Botswana last year

    Botswana's former President Ian Khama has dismissed as "fabricated" 38 charges against him, including the unlawful possession and theft of firearms.

    Mr Khama had been summoned to appear in court to face the charges on Thursday, but he did not.

    "I was never served with that summons. That's why I wasn't in court today," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

    Mr Khama has been in self-imposed exile in South Africa since November 2021.

    He fell out with his hand-picked successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, whom he accused of being authoritarian.

  3. Botswana court summons ex-president over firearms

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Botswana former president Ian Khama
    Image caption: Mr Khama was president until for 10 years until 2018

    A court in Botswana has summoned former President Ian Khama to appear before it on Thursday on multiple criminal charges, including possession of firearms.

    The "unprecedented" charge sheet showed that Mr Khama was accused alongside three others, the private Mmegi website reported.

    He and ex-intelligence chief Isaac Kgosi, former police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and ex-deputy permanent secretary Bruno Paledi face a total of 38 charges, ranging from illegal acquisition, unlawful possession and theft of firearms.

    In Botswana, the illegal possession of guns could lead to a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

    Mr Khama previously told South Africa's Daily Maverick newspaper that he keeps his hunting rifles, shotguns and “a few handguns” collected over three decades at his home.

    Some of these belonged to his official and private security detail, he was quoted as saying.

    It is unlikely that Mr Khama will appear in court in person.

    Mr Khama - the son of Botswana's founding President Seretse Khama - went into self-imposed exile in South Africa in November 2021.

    At the time, he denied that he was fleeing Botswana but he hasn't returned to the country since.

    Mr Khama was president from 2008 to 2018.

    He fell out with his handpicked successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, whom he accused of authoritarianism. Mr Masisi was the vice-president under Mr Khama, from 2014 to 2018.

    The summons against the former president come ahead of President Masisi's planned meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria on Friday.

  4. Botswana detects new Covid Omicron sub-variant

    David Wafula

    BBC News, Nairobi

    Coronavirus

    The Botswana health ministry says it has detected a new lineage of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

    The infected are currently being monitored to establish more information on the potential impact of the disease and its severity.

    The new sub-variant, designated as Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 has already been detected in three other countries and on four people in Botswana.

    The four people were fully vaccinated and had been experiencing mild symptoms.

    So far, no conclusions have been made to establish whether this sub-variant is more transmittable than the known Omicron variant.

    This happens as the World Health Organization announces it is tracking a few dozen cases of the two new sub-variants of the highly transmissible Omicron strain to assess whether they are more infectious or dangerous.

  5. Botswana to manufacture Corbevax Covid vaccines

    Dayo Yusuf

    BBC Africa Health

    Two Corbevax vials
    Image caption: There is no requirement for Corbevax to be stored at extremely low temperatures

    Botswana is the latest country to approve the use of the Corbevax coronavirus vaccine - and also plans to produce it locally by 2026.

    This is according to South African-born biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who made the announcement on a visit to Botswana on Monday.

    His NantWorks company has partnered with the Botswana government to set up a vaccine-manufacturing plant - and he was in the southern African country to mark the start of the project.

    During his trip, Dr Soon-Shiong said he had organised for Botswana to immediately get access to 100 million doses of the Corbevax vaccine currently in production elsewhere.

    He said the protein-based vaccine had been declared safe, worked against every variant and 10 million doses had already been administered, mainly in India and Bangladesh.

    The patent-free vaccine, developed by US researchers, is currently being produced in India and there is no requirement for Corbevax to be stored at very low temperatures.

    Currently, only 1% of the vaccines used in Africa are produced on the continent - and the latest figures show that only 15% of Africans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

  6. Botswana shows AIDS-free generation possible - WHO

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Anti retrovirals
    Image caption: Anti retroviral treatment has brought down transmission rates, WHO says

    The United Nations says Botswana has taken a significant step towards eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS described the progress as a huge accomplishment for a country that has one of the most severe HIV epidemics in the world.

    In 1999 around 40% of children whose mothers were HIV positive were born with the virus. Last year that figure had dropped to below 2%.

    The WHO said thanks to visionary political leadership, the southern African country had demonstrated that an AIDS-free generation was possible.

    It said improved ante natal care and the provision of anti retroviral treatment to pregnant mothers had played a key role.

  7. Botswana court upholds ruling decriminalising gay sex

    Activists wearing rainbows mask inside the Botswana High Court in Gaborone on November 29, 2021 embrace as they celebrate after the Botswana Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by the government of Botswana against the Botswana High Court ruling of decriminalising homosexuality.
    Image caption: The ruling effectively struck off two sections of the penal code that had outlawed homosexuality

    Botswana's Appeal Court has upheld a 2019 landmark ruling decriminalising gay sex in the country.

    A five-judge bench unanimously ruled that the criminalisation of same-sex relationships violated the constitutional rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

    In 2019, the high court had rejected as unconstitutional laws that imposed up to seven years in prison for same-sex relationships, saying that human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalised.

    But the state appealed against the decision, arguing that the penal code outlawed gay sex. It also said that majority of citizens did not agree with the 2019 judgement.

    Monday's ruling effectively struck off two sections of the penal code that had outlawed homosexuality.

    "Those sections have outlived their usefulness, and serve only to incentivise law enforcement agents to become key-hole peepers and intruders into the private space of citizens," said Appeal judge president Ian Kirby, who read the ruling.

    Laws outlawing same sex relations exist in majority of the 54 African countries.

  8. Video content

    Video caption: Covid variant: Reaction to new rules on travel from southern Africa

    Travellers at Cape Town airport respond to new UK quarantine measures over Covid variant.

  9. New mineral discovered inside a Botswana diamond

    BBC World Service

    A mineral that scientists had assumed must exist based on laboratory experiments has been found inside a diamond in Botswana.

    The mineral - davemaoite - should help researchers understand what the earth's lower mantle looks like.

    It was identified inside a tiny bit of rock trapped inside a diamond that formed at depths of more than 660km (410 miles).

    Scientists assume that between 5% and 7% of the lower mantle must be made of davemaoite.

    View more on twitter
  10. Okavango Safari

    Video content

    Video caption: Andy and Kip embark on another wild adventure, this time to the Okavango Delta in Africa.

    Preschool wildlife series. Andy and Kip visit the Okavango Delta in Africa in search of the huge variety of animals that come to the delta to drink.

  11. Namibia and Botswana

    Video content

    Video caption: Simon Reeve crosses Namibia, Botswana and the Kalahari Desert.

    Documentary series in which Simon Reeve journeys along the tropic of Capricorn. He starts by crossing Namibia and Botswana, and then the Kalahari Desert.

  12. Botswana Special

    Video content

    Video caption: Jeremy, Richard and James each drive second-hand cars across the wilds of Botswana.

    Motoring magazine. Jeremy, Richard and James are challenged to each drive a second-hand car across the wilds of Botswana, facing obstacles such as salt pans, rivers and animals.

  13. Botswana postpones gay sex case ruling

    LGBT flag
    Image caption: The government appealed a 2019 ruling that decriminalised gay sex

    The court in Botswana has postponed the ruling for a case seeking the overturning of the decriminalisation of gay sex.

    The judges said they need more time to research and debate the matter and did not set the next ruling date.

    A university student Letsweletse Motshidiemang had said the law should change as homosexuality was widely accepted in the society.

    The state representative said there was no evidence that the society's attitude had changed.

    The court had in 2019 allowed the decriminalisation of gay sex which previously came with seven years imprisonment.

    The government appealed against the ruling.

  14. Delving into the burden of infertility

    The latest episode of The Comb podcast

    Kim Chakanetsa

    The Comb podcast

    Gaona Dintwe

    Women who bear the brunt of infertility have opened up in this week's episode of The Comb podcast.

    Gaona Dintwe, a radio broadcaster from Botswana, got questions about why she didn't have any children after getting married.

    Some questions were more blunt: “Are you sure you are not barren?”

    The questions were not from those within her inner circle but rather from those who had come to know her through her work.

    Gaona had been diagnosed with a severe case of endometriosis, a chronic condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb is found elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis can make it difficult to conceive.

    The diagnosis, which came three months before she got married, devastated her.

    “My fiancé and I, at that point, were actually planning on having babies... hearing that there's a possibility that I may not be able to conceive or may struggle to conceive, was just heart breaking,” she tells The Comb.

    Growing up she dreamt of having three kids - two girls and a boy - by age 30.

    Infertility is a growing issue in Africa with often devastating emotional, social and economic consequences.

    Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples live with infertility globally, half of these couples are living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.