Gay nuptials: Ekandjo accuses judiciary of ‘satanic behaviour’

Elizabeth Joseph
Former youth minister Jerry Ekandjo has accused Supreme Court judges of ‘promoting satanic behaviour’ by overlooking aspects of the country’s constitution in order to rule in favour of spouses married abroad to Namibians in same-sex marriages. He was speaking in the National Assembly yesterday when he motivated his motion calling for parliament to take drastic steps aimed at rescinding the apex court’s judgment around same-sex marriages, which has since divided public opinion. In May, Namibia became the second country on the continent to recognise same-sex marriages from other countries. “The Supreme Court purposefully ignored Chapter 14 of the constitution to arrive at their desired conclusion. It must be logic that the ruling was a well-calculated move to provide for an opportunity for those Namibians who want to engage in the satanic act and to lodge court cases, knowing very well the court will rule in their favour,” the former political prisoner charged. He said the Supreme Court judges “must also declare their interests because we cannot allow the promotion of satanic behaviour”. “Only parliament makes laws, not the courts. It must be understood that judges are not above this house. This is the only body elected by the people, therefore we cannot allow ourselves to be insulted by the judiciary as they appear to be on the journey to appease foreign interests,” he said. Private Members’ Bill He was motivating his Private Members’ Bill, intended to invoke Article 81 of the Namibian Constitution, which permits parliament to contradict a Supreme Court judgment as well as amend the Marriage Act. Ekandjo, who claimed that 95% of Namibians do not support same-sex marriages and relationships, wants parliament to set aside the Supreme Court’s judgment which authorises the recognition of same-sex marriages that were solemnised outside Namibia, directs government to recognise the civil marriage of persons of the same sex and declared parties to a same-sex marriage as spouses. Article 14 of the constitution states that marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses, between men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, religion, creed or social or economic status. He maintained his earlier stance that allowing same-sex marriages goes against the values and cultural norms of Namibians, hence it should not be allowed. According to the proposed amendments to the Marriage Act: “Any marriage officer who purports to solemnise a marriage which he or she is not authorised under this Act to solemnise or which to his or her knowledge is legally prohibited... shall be guilty of an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding N$100 000 or, in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six years, or to both such fine and imprisonment”. His motion was widely supported by members from both the ruling party and opposition members and has since been referred to committee stage. 'Relieved' Swapo Party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa also took the floor to throw her weight behind Ekandjo’s motion. “I want to thank Honourable Ekandjo for bringing this bill to the house because he clearly spoke on behalf of all Namibians who were asking questions relating to this matter. Through him [Ekandjo], Namibians are relieved and can now sleep peacefully because their questions have been answered,” she said. Shaningwa recently took issue with home affairs minister Dr Albert Kawana, whom she accused of not heeding instructions from the ruling party to table a motion in parliament aimed at outlawing any form of gay rights. She raised her concerns after the home affairs ministry issued a notice informing the public that it will comply with the Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriages solemnised in foreign countries.