Last edited: February 13, 2005

New Call for Anti-Gay Law

The Namibian, April 21, 1999
Windhoek, Namibia

By Christof Maletsky

WINDHOEK—A Deputy Minister has called for legislation to punish homosexuality in Namibia, a move which legal experts say could conflict with the Constitution. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Jeremiah Nambinga, described homosexuality as an evil and anti-social practice which should not only be condemned but be legislated against.

He was speaking during the Budget debate in the National Assembly on Monday. Nambinga hit out at what he called "the degree of intolerance" displayed by some local media and politicians against those who refused to condone homosexual and lesbian behaviour in the society.

"The anti-homosexual voices should not be suffocated in our democratic society. There are those of us that believe that homosexuality is evil, homosexuality is anti-social and should not be condemned but should also be legislated against." He said the "disciples" of homosexuality were happy to spread their "gospel" in the name of free speech, human rights and democracy, but were quick to "suffocate" voices that disapproved of the "animal-like" behaviour.

"After all, homosexuals are patients of psychological and biological deviations. Is this not selective morality of the worst order?" Nambinga said the majority of Namibians needed to be protected against homosexuality while the encouragement of the behaviour by the country’s leaders was tantamount to a betrayal of trust.

"Our society should not encourage that culture of impunity with regard to the deviant behaviour of homosexuality and lesbianism." Last year Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo also called on Government to draft legislation providing for heavy penalties against homosexual practices. Ekandjo said the legislation would curb the spread of such practices.

However, legal experts said such legislation would conflict with the Namibian Constitution as well as with safeguards in the country’s Labour Act. Human rights groups and sections of the media have in the past objected to anti-gay statements made by various political figures, especially Swapo leaders.

The Ministers’ attitude appears to mirror that of the homophobic Zimbabwean government, which has banned gay people from participating in an international book fair in Harare in recent years. As a result worldwide criticism was directed at the Zimbabwean government.

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