Namibia in push to legalise homosexuality

Andrew Kathindi

The Namibian Government is forging ahead with plans to terminate a law that has made the practice of homosexuality in the country illegal.

The development could see the particular law being overturned before the end of the year.

Justice Minister, Yvonne Dausab , confirmed to Windhoek Observer that she has committed to submit draft regulations to Cabinet in two weeks at the deliberative meeting. “After which it will go through the normal law-making process: principal approval from Cabinet, scrutiny from the Cabinet Committee on Legislation (CCL), possible further discussions with the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC), certification from the Attorney General, drafters and then National Assembly (NA). I think give or take we may see this go to the NA before the year ends,” the minister said.

On Monday morning, the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) submitted two reports to the Justice minister, being a report on Repeal of Obsolete laws and a report on the Abolishment of the Common Law Offences of Sodomy and Unnatural Sexual Offences, respectively. The LRDC is mandated with conducting research and to make recommendations for the reform and development of Namibian Laws, of which research and reviewing on the two projects has been completed.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the two reports form part of a second phase to a project “which was started in 2018, through research and reviews on Namibian laws, identified all out-dated/archaic laws, that need to be done away with, amended or repealed. This project identified 31 pieces of legislations which are deemed obsolete in the current Republic of Namibia.”

“The report on the Abolishment of the Common Law Offences of Sodomy and Unnatural Sexual Offences deals with the decriminalization of sodomy and or unnatural sexual offence from the Namibian Laws.”

According to the Criminal Procedure Act 25 of 2004, sodomy is listed as one of the offences a peace officer may without warrant arrest any person who commits it.

According to media reports, as Chairperson of the LRDC before her appointment as Justice Minister last year, Dausab previously stated that the constitution lacked “sufficient language to describe and protect rights pertaining to the LGBTI plus communities”.

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