The high court of Botswana will on Tuesday make a ruling on decriminalization of homosexuality, in a landmark case for Africa’s legal response to same-sex relationships.Even though Botswana is touted as one of Africa’s most democratic nations, homosexuality is outlawed under the country’s penal code of 1965.
In March, an unnamed applicant went to court to challenge two sections of the code that threaten offenders with a jail sentence of up to seven years.
The applicant identified by their initials LM, told the court that it was time for the people of Botswana to be tolerant to homosexuals.
“These sections… limit me to interact with others who identify in the same way for fear of imprisonment,” they said.
This ruling will come just a month after 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 and end decades-old laws which criminalise gay sex.
Twenty-eight out of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have laws penalising same-sex relationships.