Stop being homophobic, First Lady tells SPYL

24 May 2021 | Social Issues

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

First Lady Monica Geingos has taken issue with the “dehumanising and oppressive language” used by the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), which said in a press statement last week that homosexuality was “satanic and demonic”.

Last week the Law Reform and Development Committee (LRDC) submitted a report to justice minister Yvonne Dausab proposing the abolishment of 34 obsolete laws, including the law criminalising sex between consenting adult men.

The second report, recommending the repeal of Namibia’s controversial common law offences of sodomy and unnatural sexual offences, was also submitted to the minister.

The report stressed that although the government frequently argues the law is not enforced, it in effect reduces gay men to criminals.

These developments have thrust the subject of homosexuality into national discourse, including pronouncement on the matter by the SPYL.

“SPYL is sickened by the discussion of homosexual (sic) in the august house which supersedes as matters of urgency. Hence we discourage the august house on discussion issues of less value and turn the focus and attention to the bread and butter issues. Homosexuality is satanic yet demonic practices and must never be legalized in Namibia,” league secretary Ephraim Nekongo said.

Reacting to the league’s position on Twitter, Geingos said: “We’re conflating scrapping the obsolete sodomy law with legalising homosexuality. The law against sodomy has not been enforced for over 20 years as it’s likely to generate constitutional friction with the right to privacy. Scrap all obsolete laws and stop being homophobic.”

She added: “There is an unenforceable sodomy law which clashes with constitutional rights of privacy and dignity.”

“My cncern with the SPYL statement was the dehumanising and oppressive language. Calling fellow Namibians ‘demonic’ subjects them to harm. Words can oppress, harm and diminish. They can also build, empower and protect. Let us be mindful of the power of words.

“An additional concern is the focus on homosexuality and acceptance of homophobic sentiments. It is possible to articulate your views without resorting to homophobic slur and dehumanisation.”

Unrepentant

Speaking to Namibian Sun over the weekend, Nekongo was unrepentant about his remarks.

He also denied that his remarks amounted to hate speech.

“Those who have condemned me have the democratic right to do, just like we from the youth league we also have our democratic right to say what we want to say,” he said.

“If you read that thing well in our statement, we never made any hate speech. We never said people should be beaten or that we must not be with them or whatever the case may be. I think that is the point they are missing.

“We are saying this is satanic, even animals, have you seen a bull going in another bull, have you seen a cock having a relationship with another cock. I mean this is satanic, we cannot tolerate that.

“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.”

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