Gay Rights Challenge to Nujoma
Daily Dispatch, March 22, 2001
WINDHOEKA Namibian gay rights coalition
challenged President Sam Nujoma yesterday to state under which laws gays and
lesbians could be prosecuted, after remarks against homosexuals he made
earlier this week.
"Nowhere does our constitution state that gay and lesbian people are
not members of the human family and therefore do not enjoy the same rights as
all other citizens," said a spokesperson for the Rainbow Project
coalition, Ian Swartz.
"We would also like to know whether the president has made
arrangements with the prison authorities to accommodate some 10 percent of the
Swartz demanded to know whether Namibia had made deals with other countries
for the deportation of its homosexual population.
Nujoma told university students earlier this week the constitution did not
allow for homosexual practices and called on police to arrest, imprison and
"The Republic of Namibia does not allow homosexuality, lesbianism
here. Police are ordered to arrest you, and deport you and imprison you,"
Nujoma said at the University of Namibia.
Swartz responded that Namibias constitution forbade any discrimination
based on individual differences and it did not exclude the rights of sexual
The South West Africa Peoples Organisation claims homosexual practices
result from foreign influences.
But those contesting this point out nearly all indigenous languages,
including Oshiwambo spoken by most Swapo supporters, have a word for
Over the past few years, Swapos conservative culture has repeatedly been
at odds with the civil rights enshrined in the constitution.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob was forced to explain to parliament last year
that Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjos call to police recruits to
"eliminate" gays and lesbians from Namibia was made in Ekandjos
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