IPC is Wrong About Rights

Panduleni Itula

Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) leader Panduleni Itula sounds like an opportunist willing to gamble with fundamental human rights and to exploit the majority for political expediency.

Speaking Oshiwambo to Shipi FM in a widely circulated audio on social media, the IPC leader made the false claim that the Namibian Constitution, especially the incorporation of universal human rights, was written or imposed on Namibians by Western nations.

“The population must know that the Namibian Constitution was written by Western nations in conjunction with Swapo before independence. The ruling party agreed that fundamental human rights, which are enshrined in the Constitution, must be the basis on which Namibia should be governed,” said Itula.

He was responding to generalised accusations that IPC was supporting homosexuality.

Does the IPC leader expect us to believe that he doesn’t know the history of Namibia’s Constitution?

Itula also argued that the IPC is not even part of the government and thus cannot take responsibility for decisions made by Namibia’s courts.

Itula repeated the IPC position that a referendum should be held for Namibians to decide whether they agree with the Constitutional provisions that protect the rights of the LGBTQI+ community. He is clearly playing to the gallery.

Last week’s High Court ruling annulled sodomy laws following the Supreme Court ruling last year declaring that same-sex marriages carry the same status as heterosexual ones because our fundamental human rights are cast in stone in the Constitution of Namibia.

Is it so difficult for Itula, and apparently the majority of homophobic Namibians, to believe that elected Constituent Assembly members were, in fact, fulfilling the voters’ mandate when they adopted universal fundamental human rights because of a century of suffering under colonialism and apartheid rule?

Do we have such short memories and feelings to want to revive discrimination against some members of society based “on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status” which was so pervasive a mere 40 years ago?

Opening the door to discrimination against the LGBTQI+ community is a slippery slope to other forms of abuse and discrimination.

If Itula’s proposed referendum confirms the populist stance of the majority against the LGBTQI+ community, what will be the next step for the homophobic masses?

Will they begin wiping out the LGBTQI+ community from the face of Namibia? Will they drive them into the desert and ocean so they perish in the way genocide was used by Germany against indigenous citizens?

And once the LGBTQI+ community has been wiped out or driven underground, who will be the next target – people of a different skin colour, people with deformities, people who don’t dress in a way we think is befiting?

Hendrik Verwoerd and his apartheid followers must be celebrating the return of Calvinistic religious beliefs coming from Namibian leaders, including black lawmakers arguing that religion must be the basis of state rule.

So much for so-called African traditionalists and Marxist-communist revolutionaries.

Namibia has been independent for not even 40 years and we are already dismantling the fundamental values of what it means to be a tolerant and progressive democracy where all human beings are free to live without fear as long as they don’t harm anyone.

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