Leadership needed on same-sex relationships ruling

NAMIBIANS are divided on whether to accept the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages consummated outside the country.

This division stems from the confusion within the ruling SWAPO Party, whose leaders are pushing different agendas.

On the one hand, there is First Lady Monica Geingos who declared long before the Supreme Court ruling that the anti-sodomy law would fall.

Geingos has had run-ins with the SWAPO Party Youth League secretary Ephraim Nekongo and the SWAPO Party Elders Council over her support of same-sex relationships.

President Hage Geingob also promised relief for gays in 2022 when he declared that there’s no room for old laws discriminating against citizens based on gender and sexuality.

On the other hand, we have SWAPO Party stalwarts Jerry Ekandjo whose stance on same-sex relationships has not changed since the early days of independence. Although the founding president Sam Nujoma is in retirement, his sentiments on same-sex relationships are known and have not changed.

Although Nujoma’s successor Hifikepunye Pohamba’s views regarding same-sex relationships are not known, the majority of the SWAPO Party central committee members seem to be against it.

The SWAPO Party Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa has not held back on her views regarding same-sex relationships. One could be forgiven to assume that since Sophia Shaningwa is the SWAPO secretary-general, her views represent those of the majority in the party.

This week Sophia Shaningwa took on the Home Affairs Minister Albert Kawana, asking him why he had not moved a motion against the recent Supreme Court ruling that ordered that same-sex couples should be accorded the same privileges as heterosexuals.

Jerry Ekandjo would also seek leave to introduce a private members bill to define the term spouse and to invoke Article 81 and 45 of the Constitution to contradict the Supreme Court’s decision and assert the representative nature of the National Assembly.

If one considers all this, it becomes clear that the confusion and division within the SWAPO Party are at the centre of the rising chaos countrywide.

There are SWAPO Party members of parliament who hide every time the issue of same-sex relationships crops up. There are those who send out mixed signals by checking out which side is safe for their welfare.

Take Kenya, for example, the members of parliament were very clear about what they meant and wanted. They never sat on the fence nor hid in the shadows.  That is called leadership. It means taking clear decisions.

In this case, what Monica Geingos and her husband have done is taking leadership. What Jerry Ekandjo and Sophia Shaningwa have done is taking leadership.

It means that by the end of it all, Namibians must know the country’s position on same-sex relationships. Knowing the situation makes it easier and safer for those in same-sex relationships. Not knowing endangers them.

For more on this & other stories: Grab a copy of the Newspaper