Tujoromajo Kasuto

FOUNDERS and members of Namibia Equal Rights movement is questioning whether the abuse of policies and misuse of tax payers’ money to continuously attack families and children is what being born free entails and how that differs from the Apartheid government.

The movement today at brief rallied in front of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security in the Central Business District (CBD). Omar van Reenen, Co-founder of the movement, references President Geingob’ s vision of a Namibian house, which says is all inclusive and serves as a refuge to all children, thus questioning whose children exactly, “only heterosexual Namibians, evidently the state is locking children of queer parent out”.

They furthermore shames Geingob for being complicit for allowing tax payers funds to target children, questioning, “What type of Namibia are we that children have become collateral to the government’s state sanctioned homophobia.”

Van Reenen further debunks the continues notion that LGBTQ+ rights are not “bread and butter” issues but yet tax players fund are used in these court cases to target families , thus he questions where does the Governments priorities lay.

“You are gay before you are unemployed, a women before you are impoverished, thus your identity might push you into those social economic issues making the LGBTQ+ and civil human rights are a bread and butter issues. To be able to live together as a family without attack from your own ministries, this is necessity thus this is a bread and butter issue,” he says.

He adds that the last time a government told people they cannot love one another was solely based on the colour of their skin during Apartheid, asking how this differs from discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. “How far have we come, how independent are we, who democratic are we?” he adds questioningly.

Meanwhile gender activist, Ndiilokelwa Nthengwe, called upon the ministries of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, and Justice, to hold the Home Affairs ministry accountable for this “patent state sanctioned homophobia as it is unconstitutional and it dates back to colonial times where families have been terrorized and degraded because of who they choose to love”.

Nthengwe adds that Article 3, Chapter 25 of the Namibian Constitution talks about how Namibia wants to do away and prohibit Apartheid ideologies but the current state of affairs perpetuates the same Apartheid notions and ideologies.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security on the 5th of November revealed that they will be heading to the Supreme Court to appeal against the judgment issued by High Court Judge, Thomas Musuku, in October to issue a citizenship certificate to the son of LGBTQ+ parents, Phillip Luhl and Guillermo Delgado, born through surrogacy in South Africa in 2019.

Equal Rights Namibia, a foundation states that if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the State, all couples and people who have had children through surrogacy will not be able to acquire citizenship for their children.

In addition, those who also choose to adopt children from abroad will legally not be able to claim citizenship for the children they are not biologically related to, thus the foundation states that it is disheartening to see that in a “born free Namibia, children have become collateral to the governments state-sanctioned homophobia”.

Judge Masuku, on the 13th October granted citizenship to the son of Namibian, Phillip Lühl, and husband Guillermo Delgado, Yona, who was born via surrogacy in South Africa. He dismissed the counter application brought by the Ministry of Home Affairs in which it claimed that a paternity test was needed to prove Lühl’ s biological linkage to his son. The ministry was ordered to pay the costs of the applicants and to issue a certificate of citizenship in 30 days.

Lühl had requested the High Court to declare that his son is a Namibian citizen by descent. However, the Home Affairs ministry was denying citizenship without proof of genetic linkage. Lühl stated that, “the only reason why the Ministry of Home Affairs was refusing to accept the birth certificate, is the fact that it identifies male persons as the parent of the child”.