Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Namibia: Schlettwein Attacks Ekandjo's Anti-Gay Bills

Minister of agriculture, water and land reform Calle Schlettwein says fellow Swapo parliamentarian Jerry Ekandjo’s anti-gay private member’s bills, which were recently passed in the National Assembly, are in conflict with enshrined rights in the Namibian Constitution.

Schlettwein said this while commenting on the bills that seek for a law to explicitly define the word ‘spouse’ in the Immigration Control Act and Marriage Act.

He said he believes the bills are against human rights as enshrined in the Constitution, which cannot be changed by any politician or parliamentarian.

Schlettwein took to social media last week, saying “liberty is freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions or the power or right of doing, thinking and speaking, according to choice”.

“Parliament approved to interfere with, restrict, hamper and criminalise a choice of affection,” Schlettwein tweeted.

The minister last week in parliament said he believes the underlying consequences of the way a constitutional matter is dealt with may be severe, and therefore he cannot support the bills in their current state.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani last week in parliament said Ekandjo’s proposed bills must pass a constitutionality test.

The civil registration and identification bill currently defines marriage to mean a “union between a man and a woman of full age and concluded in terms of the laws governing civil marriages in Namibia”, and the “union between a man and a woman of full age and concluded under any customary law of a Namibian traditional community”.

COUNCILLORS BACK EKANDJO

A number of Swapo National Council members supported Ekandjo’s private members’ bills.

Rundu Rural constituency councillor Paulus Mbangu yesterday said Ekandjo’s definition of the word ‘spouse’ is clear.

“The parliament is there to represent the people and ensure democracy in the county, however, democracy shouldn’t be abused at the expense of the Namibian nation. As leaders and members of this august house, we cannot allow and promote immorality in Namibia,” he said.

Mbangu said if same-sex marriage is legalised in Namibia, the entire health system would suffer since the government would need a larger health budget to assist those who participate in anal sex.