The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) has resolved that the organisation be registered as a profit-making organisation.
Speaking at BONELA’s 12th Annual General Meeting, the outgoing BONELA Chairperson Tshiamo Rantao said that following recommendations by members and other stakeholders, the board made a resolution that some of the services offered by BONELA should be commercialised as a way of raising funds for the organisation.
The resolution however is subject to further discussion and approval from the incoming board and BONELA members.
Though Rantao did not specify which services offered by BONELA were likely to be commercialised, the organisation offers an array of services among them support and counseling to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, support to minority groups like gays and lesbians and legal services to the marginalised.
BONELA has done well especially in the legal services department and could actually make a profit out of it, if commercialised.
The organisation has triumphed in several legal cases involving government and other stakeholders. The latest of this, is the LEGABIBO case in which the organisation challenged the decision by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs’ refusal to register them under civil and company registry, citing the illegality of homosexuality in Botswana.
The case in which government was challenged to offer Anti-retroviral drugs to foreign inmates, which BONELA won also, added a feather to the organisation’s colourful resume.
Meanwhile, when speaking at the AGM, outgoing board member, Christopher Molomo noted that BONELA continues to assert itself as a key role player in making human rights a reality in the national response to HIV/AIDS in the country. He, however, noted that the mandate could only be achieved and sustained if all stakeholders continue to work and get involved with BONELA activities. “Creating sustainable and strategic relationships is indeed a vehicle working towards ending HIV and AIDS in Botswana.
According to Molomo, BONELA members were among others expected to make resolutions on the organisation’s sustainability, improving its governance systems and structure while increasing accountability.
For his part, Assistant Minister of Health, Dr Alfred Madigele noted that partnership between BONELA and the Ministry of Health can be termed as “A working and alive partnership”, adding that BONELA has always assisted in availing and assisting his ministry with their technical expertise on human rights.
Dr Madigele lauded BONELA’s legal department which he said, through it, cases of different violations of human rights were brought before the courts of Botswana. “The legal cases as well as general monitoring by BONELA has enabled a strengthened policy and legal environment thus increasing access to justice and promoting human rights” he said.
At the time of going to press, BONELA was in the process of electing a new committee. The outgoing chair has indicated that he will not defend his seat again.