In the LEGABIBO case where fourteen individuals filed a case before the Botswana High Court asking the court to review the decision by the Director of Civil and National Registration and the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs to refuse to register the organisation will be heard before the High Court of Appeal in Gaborone on Friday 12 January 2016.
The members applied for registration in terms of the Societies Act on the 16 February 2012. On 12 March 2012, the Director of the Department of Civil and National Registration rejected the application stating that Botswana Constitution does not recognise homosexuals and that the objectives of the organisation are contrary to section 7(2) of the Societies Act. LEGABIBO appealed the decision as prescribed by the Societies Act but the appeal was rejected by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs on the 12th October 2012.
On 15 November 2014, LEGABIBO triumphed in court and Judge Rannowane ordered the Botswana Government to register the Human Rights group. The Judge stated that the “refusal to register LEGABIBO was not reasonably justifiable under the Constitution of Botswana … It violated the applicants’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly …”. He further added that lobbying for legislative reforms is not a crime and it is also not a crime to be a homosexual in Botswana. The Botswana Government appealed this ruling however.
Dow And Associates are the legal representative for LEGABIBO during the case with Dick Bayford as the lead council. The LGBTI human rights and advocacy group seeks to be registered as a legally operating NGO recognized by the Government of Botswana. The case is supported by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Botswana Network of Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS – BONELA.
We therefore invite you to attend the heads of argument on Friday 12 January 2016 at the High Court of Appeal in Gaborone. For further information, contact Mr Bradley Fortuin or Caine Youngman from LEGABIBO at +267 393 25 16.