The ex-President of Botswana Festus Mogae has told the BBC that the country should decriminalise homosexuality and prostitution to prevent the spread of HIV. He said it was difficult to promote safe sex when the two practices were illegal and called for condoms to be distributed in prisons.
Mr Mogae said Botswana could not regard homosexuals as criminals. He told the BBC’s Network Africa programme:
“I don’t understand it [homosexuality]. I am a heterosexual. I look at women. I don’t look at other men. But there are men who look at other men. These are citizens.”
His views are controversial as many conservative Batswana frown upon homosexuality and prostitution. A government spokesman on HIV/Aids told the BBC homosexuality and prostitution would remain illegal until the government concluded wide-ranging consultations to see whether there was a need to change the law.