Current track



Mbumba still consulting on Ekandjo’s anti-gay bills

Written by on May 7, 2024

President Nangolo Mbumba is still consulting on the way forward regarding the private member’s bills passed by both houses of parliament last year.

In July last year, the National Assembly swiftly passed the private member’s bills comprising the marriage amendment bill and the definition of spouse bill with minimal amendments, garnering overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle.

The bills are awaiting presidential assent to become law.

“The president has received the bills in question and there is a process of consultation taking place, so that is where it is at this stage,” presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari told The Namibian yesterday.

He said if there are any cases where members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and other (LGBTQI+) community have been attacked, the law should take its course.

“Well, if there is criminality, law enforcement would have to deal with it,” Hengari said.

The spouse bill, in particular, smoothly progressed through the committee stage without objection.

Ekandjo proposed an additional amendment clarifying the genetic distinction between men and women.

Nangolo Mbumba

The marriage amendment bill defines marriage as a union between individuals of opposite sexes and prohibits same-sex marriage.

Subsequently, the bills were swiftly approved by the National Council and forwarded to the president for signing a few days later.

One of the bills further states that anyone who violates the law against same-sex marriage faces a fine of up to N$100 000 or up to six years in prison.

Last month, Swapo backbencher Jerry Ekandjo demanded an explanation from the Presidency on whether the president will sign the bills into law or not.

According to Swapo deputy secretary general Uahekua Herunga, no one should be bullied or killed because they belong to a certain community, and the party does not condone violence against anyone. Herunga, however, maintained that Swapo does not condone or support gay practices.

“We condemn it and no one should touch anybody because of their identity,” he said.

Meanwhile, prosecutor general Martha Imalwa said her office has not dealt with any case where the members of the LGBTQI+ community were killed because of hate over the past 20 years.

“I have never heard of someone being killed because they are gay, there is no evidence that people are killed because they belong to a certain community,” she said.

According to Imalwa, the Constitution does not discriminate on how cases are dealt with.

Every murder case is dealt with accordingly, she said.

Attorney general Festus Mbandeka submitted an affidavit last year in the Windhoek High Court arguing that a majority of Namibians still reject homosexuality and that sodomy laws should remain in force on that basis.

He said: “I deny that the mere existence of the sodomy laws promote the stigmatisation of gay men. If these men suffer from any stigma, it is because of their choice to engage in sexual behaviour that is considered morally taboo in our society.”

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe said his party condemns this kind of killing.

He said the PDM is cognisant of the fact that the Constitution does not allow sodomy and there are no laws in the country that allow the practice.

“The stance of PDM on sodomy is very clear that we don’t condone it but at the same time we don’t support any sort of violence against any community,” he said.

He said no one should be hating minorities.

“Today someone is a victim because they are LGBTQI+, tomorrow it’s tribal or because they belong to a certain religion, the next day it’s regionalism.”

He said as long as the law prohibits same-sex practices, it is not for any Namibian to take the law into their own hands.

“We will have differences as a country and we should respect that. What we should rather engage in is psychosocial support for these people. Justice should prevail for the victims,” he said.

Body of Christ Party (BCP) vice president Victorina Shilongo said much should be changed in terms of how the government protects its people from violence.

“We need stricter laws that deal with perpetrators that would commit crimes on innocent people because of their affiliations,” she said.

She, however, added that BCP is a Christian party and they are committed to what the Bible teaches, thus they don’t support sodomy.

She said the Constitution is not clear on the definition of gender and the government should address this.

South West Africa National Union (Swanu) secretary general Wendy Christian said it’s still debatable in Swanu as to whether they support the LGBTQI+ community or not, but despite what their stance would be, they have noticed with great concern the escalation of gender-based violence.

“We ought to protect the rights and the lives of all the Namibians” she said.

The post Mbumba still consulting on Ekandjo’s anti-gay bills appeared first on The Namibian.

Current track