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Ekandjo demands Mbumba’s signature on anti-same-sex bills

Written by on April 28, 2024

… lawyer guarantees constitutional fight if assented

Swapo backbencher Jerry Ekandjo says Namibia should not allow Western culture to influence its citizens by accepting homosexual acts.

He yesterday asked how far the speaker’s office was with processing his proposed anti-gay bills in the parliament.

Ekandjo reminded the house that he tabled the bills in the parliament last year, and said they are long overdue after being sent to the president for approval.

The backbencher referred to article 56 of the Constitution, which states that every bill passed by the parliament requires the signature of the president to be gazetted.

“And in this case it does not require the involvement of the National Council. But where are we now? It is eight months down the line.

“Bills that were passed in November and December were already assented to, it was [sic] signed. But our bill that went there earlier . . . up to now, nothing happened,” he said.

“If you think we will allow this influence of the Western culture . . . thinking we will withdraw . . . never, ever in Namibia – it will never happen,” he said.

Ekandjo’s private member’s bills – passed by both the National Assembly and National Council – aim to redefine the term ‘spouse’ and amend the Marriage Act of 1961 to block the recognition of same-sex marriage in Namibia.


Lawyer Carli Schickerling has countered Ekandjo’s argument regarding other bills signed into power by the president which were passed in the parliament later than his anti-same-sex bill.

“I am assuming those specific bills do not risk facing an unconstitutional backlash and are not concerning human dignity and rights.

“I can only assume that the delay by our former president, in consideration to the other bills that were passed, had not been assented to because of the massive human rights aspect that it influences, and have to be properly considered,” she says.

The lawyer says Ekandjo’s classification of homosexuality as part of Western culture is misplaced.

Jerry Ekandjo

“The fact that members of parliament think homosexuality is a Western concept is just wrong. There is ample historial proof that homosexuality has existed on all continents for hundreds and thousands of years,” the lawyer says.

Schickerling says the country is a secular state, independent of the church.

“To trample a person’s human rights because of your personal opinions and beliefs is thankfully not what this country is based on. I can guarantee you that should this bill be passed by the president, it will face constitutional challenges,” she says.

Schickerling says the country has bigger fish to fry than Ekandjo’s anti-same-sex bills.

“I really believe issues like domestic violence, the murder of domestic partners in our country and the fact that people can barely afford housing and not to speak of food and fuel . . .

“These are the challenges the parliament should be focused on, and not about two people who are in a relationship and what happens behind their private doors,” she says.

Carli Schickerling

Civil rights activist Omar van Reenen yesterday called Swapo parliamentarians out for their hypocrisy, saying the Constitution states that no act of parliament may infringe on the fundamental rights of Namibians.

This is stated in Article 25.

“… which means the bill they passed, the anti-LGBTQI+ bill, is unconstitutional. It is the most unconstitutional bill that was passed by a democratically elected parliament since our independence,” they argued.

Van Reenen reasoned that the bill would limit freedom of expression, speech, and assembly for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community.

“It imprisons LGBTQI+ people based on how they identify, because they use their right in a democracy to freedom of expression.

“It would punish businesses, families and friends who openly support queer people,” the activist said.

The post Ekandjo demands Mbumba’s signature on anti-same-sex bills appeared first on The Namibian.

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