Namibian parliamentarian pledges to support LGBTI rights

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On Tuesday, February 11, Namibian opposition leader McHenry Venaani was sworn in as a parliamentarian. What’s interesting is that Venaani, the president of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) party, came out in support of gay rights during an interview with Gay Star News in 2013 when he said that the claims that homosexuality is “un-African” are “manufactured lies.”

Venaani said, “For many years gays have been part of the society all along. It is scientifically proven all races and cultures have gays,” arguing that hormones cannot be imported, so no one can claim homosexuality is an imported lifestyle.

In 2013, Venaani went head-to-head with DTA opponent’s previous president of fifteen years Katuutire Kaura, who adamantly claims homosexuality is un-African.

Venaani has promised that his party will become a voice for all minorities.

Unfortunately for their causes, the DTA party, though it was once extremely powerful, now only holds two seats in parliament, so it will take a long time for Namibia to accept the rights of sexual minorities with such a small parliamentary number in favor.

Currently gay rights in Namibia are minimal, considering sodomy remains illegal and many parliamentary members have called for the extermination or deportation of homosexuals.

However, according to Venaani, LGBT rights groups remain visible in Namibia.

Also, despite the opposition, DTA is currently working on the development of a new manifesto, inclusive of minorities. DTA also supports free education, in order for children from all backgrounds to begin on equal footing.

“Africans must stop hiding the reality. Society always denies the reality, [but the existence of]homosexuality…cannot be denied,” he told Gay Star News, adding that LGBT people are entitled to their privacy without interference.

429Magazine

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