The First Lady of Namibia, Mrs Monica Geingos has spoken up in show of support for the LGBTIQ community in her country amidst increased calls for the country to repeal laws that decriminalize homosexuality. While quoting the Law Reform Commission Report on Abolishing/decriminalizing Sodomy (https://namiblii.org/lrdc-reports) the First Lady said, “I’ve taken time to read the report and it lends itself for an informed conversation. We need less insults and more informed, non-judgmental discussions. This isn’t a new discussion; it is part of a Law Reform Project on repealing obsolete laws. Bottom line, there’s no recorded prosecutions on sodomy since independence 31 years ago. The “sodomy law” serves no legal purpose, instead, it results in harm and discrimination.”
Her comments come after SWAPO Party Youth League secretary Ephraim Nekongo issued a statement he said debates/conversations to legalize homosexuality by the National Assembly were “taking up” more time than they should. He appealed to parliamentarians especially those belonging to SWAPO to stop wasting time discussing the rights and possible legalisation of homosexuality in Namibia because it was not important. Nekongo also equated homosexuality as “satanic and demonic”.
Mrs Monica Geingos further cautioned the media and public speakers against harmful language that may cause discrimination and violence. “The language is important. We saw how the headlines prompted mind-boggling homophobia and misplaced calls for referendum as many conflated the repeal of a sodomy law with enactment of same sex marriage. We can have both discussions but they are legally different. We must elevate the quality of our national discourse. How we engage each other and the quality of media reporting needs improvement. The insults, oppressive language, sensationalization and blatant homophobia was difficult to watch.”
She was adamant that she would not give up the fight for LGBTIQ human rights until equality was realized. “Many, as usual, are asking me to be quiet. No, thank you. I have as much right to engage - or opt out - of national conversation. My personal agency, or rights, are not diluted by marriage or political affiliation,” she wrote on her Twitter account.
Human Rights Group, Namibia Equal Rights Movement implored President Hage Geingob to also condemn these attacks. In a statement, they called upon the resignation by SWAPO Party Youth League Secretary, Ephraim Nekoongo as well as for the government to open up an inquiry into the comments made by the legislator.
It should be remembered that recently Namibia was in the spotlight because of a nerve wrecking court battle where a gay couple was issued with the required documents to bring their twin daughters into the country. This required one of the dads to provide proof that he was the father of the girls. The Namibian-Mexican couple had their children by surrogacy in South Africa.