As Namibia’s sodomy law debate intensifies, various political parties and activists have expressed different opinions, with some calling on national leaders to calculate their remarks made publicly against sexual minorities.
The Christian Democratic Voice (CDV) party has come out to strongly condemn those supporting it, saying such activities are unbiblical and immoral.
Cabinet is expected to pronounce itself on the abolishment of the common law offences of sodomy and unnatural sexual offences following justice minister Yvonne Dausab’s submission of such a report to it.
New Era engaged CDV party leader in the National Assembly (NA), Gotthard Kandume, on the hotly debated issue surrounding sodomy laws.
Kandume said the Bible does not support gay rights.
“God created Adam and Eve for a reason. He created Eve as his helper. That’s why God instituted marriage between a man and a woman to be husband and wife. Whatever is going to be tabled, CDV will not support the debate,” Kandume said.
Equally, he charged that Namibians like to copy and paste from other countries, adding that there are socio-economic issues affecting communities that need to be addressed urgently, instead of debating unbiblical issues.
He asked, “is it biblical for a man to sleep with another man? If sodomy is allowed, then those sleeping with animals will also come and say let’s legalise bestiality.”
Kandume requested Christians who fear God not to support the repealing of sodomy laws.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe said the official opposition party does not have a policy position when it comes to sodomy and other sexual minority issues.
However, he revealed that come June, the party will have a policy conference to discuss issues including homosexuality.
“As people from different backgrounds, we have different opinions on issues motivated by different religious and moral values. As a political party, we don’t have a position on this matter and the discussion of the sodomy law,” Ngaringombe stated.
According to him, the PDM respects the constitution of the country that says everyone is a Namibian and is equal before the law, irrespective of their religion, race, sex, cultures and social class.
“We are all human before we are different. We as politicians should be very careful when we condemn issues of sexual minorities, especially on sodomy matters. Whatever we say as politicians, people can use against people with different sexual orientations, and might resort to violence. All I am saying is that we shouldn’t call publicly that these things are satanic and demonic,” he added.
He made it clear that PDM does not have time to disrespect people’s basic human rights, and will not go on to push on the regulation of sexual matters, saying those are private issues.
Ngaringombe questioned why issues such as polygamy and extramarital affairs are accepted in society, while they cause a lot of harm such as gender-based violence and the transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Affirmative Repositioning (AR) spokesperson Simon Kanepolo said the movement has no position whatsoever on the ongoing subject in the public discourse and mainstream media.
“But in principle, the AR is subjected to and supports human rights as enshrined in Chapter 3 of the Namibian Constitution on fundamental human rights and freedoms.
“For us, things are very clear in the constitution, as the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in this chapter shall be respected and upheld by the executive, legislature and judiciary and all organs of the government and its agencies and, where applicable to them, by all natural and legal persons in Namibia, and shall be enforceable by the courts in the manner prescribed,” Kanepolo added.
Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEEF) parliamentarian Kalimbo Iipumbu stressed that his party’s position remains the same as at the beginning of the formation of the party. “Homosexuality should not be entertained at all cost. Our people are subjected to produce, and not to fight against God’s creation. What are we trying to achieve if we are to legalise homosexuality?” he questioned.
Iipumbu said the NEEF aims to protect the integrity of humankind, and that there is no right to same-sex unions at all.
According to him, Namibia has a lot of crucial matters that need to be dealt with, not homosexuality. Therefore, he vowed the NEEF had condemned the practice, and will continue to advocate for such condemnation.
NEEF is pleading to Namibians to work hand in hand, and boycott the idea of bringing the motion to parliament.
Kalimbo said, “we love our people, and we cannot allow them to be fooled and drugged into something that will not bring good and meaningful things to their lives. What is same-sex? What will same-sex contribute to our economy? To hell, and let’s burn it all.”
He furthermore remarked that there is no right to homosexuality, and that those pushing for it have no respect for people’s lives. “No one should entertain these horrific, satanic devil demons. Let’s focus on the developmental programmes that will enhance the living of our people, and 100% condemn the homosexuality practice”, he charged.
Nudo secretary general Joseph Kaundenge said as a party, they are yet to meet and discuss the issue.
“It’s something we need to discuss at the level of the NEC [national executive committee]. We haven’t discussed it and taken a collective position yet,” he said.
Namibians are sharply divided over the issue.
Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo recently said the youth wing is “sickened” by the growing debate on and proposals to legalise homosexuality.
The SPYL condemned attempts to have sodomy laws abolished, arguing the government should rather focus on socio-economic issues affecting ordinary Namibians.
He demanded that MPs stop wasting time discussing legalising homosexuality because it is “satanic”.
“We have a responsibility of unemployment, which is very high. Why is it so urgent for us to legalise homosexuality when our people are sleeping under the bridge, when graduates are leaving university and not getting employment?” questioned Nekongo.
Those who are in support of abolishing sodomy laws have publicly questioned the purpose of the anti-sodomy law, and stated that the old sodomy law has now served its purpose.
Misogyny and religiosity
LGBTQI+ activist Ndiilo Nthengwe recently called on the government to urgently address “entrenched misogyny and religiosity”, and the way sexual minorities are treated so that they can be protected legally.
Omar van Reenen, the co-founder of Equal Namibia, had during a recent march called on ombudsman John Walters to “condemn homo-transphobic hate speech and investigate SPYL’s incitement of violence”.
Van Reenen said SPYL dehumanised and severely discriminated against a minority group (the LGBTQ+ community).
Another gay rights activist rhetorically asked how many prosecutions there have been since independence, while also questioning if Namibia doesn’t prosecute people, why the country has the sodomy act in place.