Activist blasts Ekandjo bill after LGBTQI+ man was killed

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) activist, Nicodemus Auxumub, also known as Mama Africa, claims that the private member bill that Swapo backbencher Jerry Ekandjo introduced in the National Assembly last year is inciting violence against their members.

Mama Africa said this on Thursday after the body of Christof Fredricks (30), was found in a riverbed near Chairman Mao Zendong School in Ganzi Street, Otjimuise.

According to City Police spokesperson Marcelline Murapo, the body was found with multiple stab wounds, and the private parts were removed.

The activists said the bill is putting the lives of the LGBTQI+ community in danger, Mama Africa added that members of the community no longer feel safe because society is targeting them as a result of their sexual orientation.

“The Ekandjo bill is instigating violence. They also forget that we are taxpayers. No one is above the law. Lawmakers are violating the Namibian Constitution. These are people’s lives they’re talking about. They did not even study the bill. Let us not be radical with LQBTQI+ rights. If leaders are instigating violence, then we will never be safe,” said Auxumu.

Veteran Swapo leader Jerry Ekandjo introduced the bill, which amends the Immigration Act to not recognize same-sex marriages in Namibia.

The bill’s passage in the National Assembly and its subsequent support by the members of the National Council raised concerns about the erosion of rights and the potential for state-sanctioned discrimination.

However, Ekandjo’s proposal has sparked outrage among activists, who view it as a direct threat to the rights and safety of LGBTQI+ individuals.

Out-Right Namibia executive director Agapitus Hausiku has called for accountability and urged authorities to address hate speech to ensure the protection of all citizens.

“These incidents are happening after the Ekandjo private bill. We tried to warn our leaders not to delve into proposing any legislation targeted at certain groups of people, especially considering their vulnerability. The state must provide protection to all its citizens, and these perpetrators must be held accountable,” he said.

He said Ekandjo and others have not been accountable for the hate speeches and their call on people to be violent towards the LGBTQI+ community.

“This is unacceptable and needs every person’s condemnation. This was never the case before the Ekandjo bill. These killings are state-sanctioned as parliament has passed a bill, creating the impression that it is now legal to kill a person because of their orientation,” said Hausiku.

Meanwhile, Murapo urged the public to come forward with any information that could assist in apprehending the suspects.

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