Government must establish programme of reparative therapy

Dear Editor,

This is my view on the legalisation of homosexuality, a debate that came into the public domain after the Law Reform Commission submitted a proposal to the Minister of Justice or triggered by a prominent print media report that Namibia is seeking to legalise homosexuality in Namibia.
I do not see the urgency of legalising homosexual – lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Namibia. The true fact is we do not see increasing discrimination against LGBT in Namibia, motivated hate speech or brutal violence and intimidation, police harassment, and widespread discriminatory treatment affecting LGBT in Namibia, unlike in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia, and in other parts of the world. In East African nations homosexual acts are illegal and punishable by up to 30 years in jail.
Hence in Africa, acceptance of homosexuality is lower than in most regions of the world. Forty-five countries in Africa (including Namibia) have not legalised same-sex activity.
As we are debating and engaging on these very sensitive issues let us provide a leadership approach in a dignified manner. Let us abstain from hate speech against people with different sexual orientation to avoid a cloud of controversy. Not even scientists know the exact factor that determines sexual orientation. Whether nature (such as genetic and hormonal factor) or nurture through social, cultural and environmental influences both play complex roles? Christians believe the other way around.
Therefore as a country, we have a value-based stance against discrimination of any kind. But that doesn’t mean we must forget our values and identities as a nation. There are some practices that are not part of our culture or our spiritual composition.
Let us be practical, to read reality and know how to change reality from within rather than above. We need unity to fight tough struggles. Let us choose a unifying path and we will find a formula that respects human beings. There are individual rights and those are important, but beyond that, there are also values and public interest.
It is likely that many instances of homosexuality result from a combination of inborn or constitutional factors and environmental or social influences. Homosexuals believe they are following their natural instincts. Many will argue that’s how God created them, so they should not be condemned. But biblically homosexual practice is forbidden in the book of Leviticus, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:13).
With this, above many will argue that laws in the Bible would not be accepted now because the nature of society has changed and the constitution of the country is the guiding document protecting all its citizens irrespective of whatsoever.
Many LGBT members in Namibia have proven to be successful; educated, skilled, and acquired high-ranking positions in both the government and private firms like any other person and work towards their success which leaves little room for the public to crucify them.
That is already a welcome reaction and l really do not see the urgency of considering a legalisation of rights or same-sex marriages. They have always enjoyed the inalienable right to be respected for who they are in society, not because they are gays, lesbians, or transgender, but because they are human beings, like anyone else in our society. Suggestions: Homosexuality must be restricted to the private domain or to the closet, as has been the case. Same-sex marriages shouldn’t be encouraged. The government in collaboration with the Council of Churches in Namibia should establish a programme of reparative therapy in the attempt to “heal” social incoherence (homosexuality) through Christian psychological teachings, repentance, prayers, counselling, and behaviour modification.
This can also be included to form part of our school curriculum from primary school to tertiary institutions.

McDavid Meroro, an ardent Pan Africanist