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Namibia Political Parties Hesitantly Supportive

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2009

Often the news out of Africa can shade Westerners’ perceptions of the continent with an image of intolerance and ignorance. Yet one of the seven countries in the world which recognizes nation-wide marriage equality is South Africa.

And now a neighbor, Namibia, seems to be somewhat cautiously moving in the direction of tolerance and support. At a recent political forum, the question of discrimination arose. (allAfrica.com)

At a forum with political parties as part of the Women Claiming Citizenship Campaign, respecting and ensuring the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersex Namibian citizens – who are often discriminated against for their gender or sexual orientation – was highlighted as a major issue for political parties to address.

When push came to shove in stating their positions, most of the eight parties present – the All People’s Party (APP), the Congress of Democrats (CoD), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the Namibia Democratic Movement of Change (NDMC), Nudo, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Swanu, UDF – declared that human rights were for everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Only NDP and UDF remained silent on the issue.

It seems that this subject has often been taboo and that politicians are struggling with an approach that is enlightened.

While Nudo described homosexuality as a “strange new” issue, party representative Utjiua Muinjangue also made it clear that Nudo’s position was to respect human rights, irrespective of sexual orientation.

She emphasised that there was a need for openness in discussing homosexuality, adding that “the fact of the matter is that we have these people amongst us, and we need to look at the issue differently, accept them, and all live happily.”

Sodomy laws still exist and remain in force in Namibia. But perhaps conversations like this will lead to greater freedom.

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