Swapo studying sodomy law judgement: Nandi-Ndaitwah

WINDHOEK: Swapo Party president and Namibian presidential candidate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said the party is currently studying the landmark judgement that declared the sodomy crime law unconstitutional and invalid.

On 21 June 2024, the Windhoek High Court in a joint decision by Judge Nate Ndauendapo, Judge Claudia Claasen and Judge Shafimana Ueitele declared the law unconstitutional and invalid.

The judgement follows the case brought by activist Friedel Dausab with the support of British-based non-governmental organisation Human Dignity Trust in 2022, seeking constitutional redress under Article 25 – Enforcement of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, contending that these laws, unfairly and irrationally, discriminate against him and other gay men on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. It thus infringes on his constitutional right to equality, dignity, privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, he contended.

Answering media questions on her opinion on the court ruling here on Monday d
uring the launch of the third Nalafem summit as its patron, Nandi-Ndaitwah said while Government is studying the court ruling, the Swapo Party has directed its legal department to study the ruling and it will take it from there.

‘That remains the position as our department for legal affairs has not yet come to the leadership,’ she explained.

The case was about the inclusion of the crime of sodomy in the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977 (Act 51 of 1977) which defines sodomy as unlawful intentional sexual relations between two human males, while unnatural sexual offences cover mutual masturbation, sexual gratification obtained by friction between the legs of another person, and other unspecified sexual activity between men.

The ruling has seen Namibians in uproar, with some welcoming the ruling and some against it.

On Saturday, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community took to the streets of Windhoek to protest the signing of two-anti gay private members’ Bills b
rought to Parliament in 2023 by former minister Jerry Ekandjo, awaiting the signature of the President.

The ‘Ekandjo Bills’ are the Definition of Spouses Bill and Marriage Amendment Bill passed in Parliament in 2023.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security, Albert Kawana on Wednesday stated that Namibia will not recognise same-sex marriages, as the country’s values, traditions and customs are anchored in Christianity.

Kawana was motivating the Marriage Bill in the National Assembly, following the passing of the two private member Bills by Ekandjo, addressing same-sex marriage. This is after the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement in May 2023, ordered the recognition of same-sex marriages contracted outside Namibia.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency