Botswana’s government has tabled a bill before parliament to amend the country’s penal code to raise the legal age of consent from 16 to 18 years.
This means having sex with a person below the age of 18 with or without their consent is a criminal offence and will be termed as defilement.
The Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi tabled the Penal Code Amendment Bill, 2018, to align with the Children’s Act, the government said in a statement. It is awaiting debate and ratification.
“The objective is to address incidences of defilement and abuse of children abduction, indecent assault, and kidnapping of children,” the statement added.
The objective is to address incidences of defilement and abuse of children abduction, indecent assault, and kidnapping of children
The Bill was made available to the public for their appreciation on 23 February 2017 when it was published in the Government Gazette.
— Botswana Government (@BWGovernment) March 25, 2018
The bill also prescribes stiffer fines and penalties for some offences including use of insulting language to “make them deterrent enough”, says the government.
Child defilement and rape cases are on the rise in Botswana like in many other African countries which are attributed to the low age of consent that does not protect children.
Angola has the lowest age of consent pegged at 12 years. This means it is legal to have sex with a child from the age of 12 upwards with their consent. Fo Burkina Faso, Comoros, Niger, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, the age of consent is 13.