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Namibian political leader stands up for gay rights

from Gay Star News
The leader of one of Namibia’s political parties has spoken out for gay rights and gone head-to-head with his opponents who claim homosexuality is un-African.
McHenry Venaani, the leader of Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), told Gay Star News claims homosexuality is un-African are ‘manufactured lies’. ‘For many years gays have been part of the society all along. It is scientifically proven all races and cultures have gays,’ Venaani said. The 36-year-old politician says hormones cannot be imported so no one can claimed that homosexuality is imported. ‘How do we import hormones?’ Venaani asked. The DTA president added it was natural to be gay and LGBTI people should protected, rather than arrested. He said homosexuality had existed in Africa throughout history, even before the continent was colonized. The rising young politician pledged his party will be a voice of all minorities and once he entered parliament in 2015 he will speak up for them. Venaani, who comes from the Bantu-speaking Herero tribe in Namibia, said gays do exist but are hidden in society including his. ‘Africans must stop hiding the reality. Society always denies the reality, homosexuality existence cannot be denied,’ Venaani said. He also said lesbian, gay and bisexual people should be allowed to live their private lives without interference, saying who you sleep with is a personal matter.
The opposition leader said he has no problems with gays and also some of his friends are part of the sexual minority group. And he said his party, founded in 1977, is non-sexist and would never discriminate against minorities. On gays having rights such as same-sex marriage, Venaani said Namibia, like other African countries, will take a long time to recognize the rights of sexual minorities. But he said LGBTI rights groups in the country are visible. DTA was a powerful political force after independence. But the party has lost its support in elections and now only has two seats in parliament.
Currently the party is developing its new manifesto which, GSN is told, will be inclusive of minorities. Earlier this year, Namibia’s ruling Swapo party youth league said homosexuality was un-African and called upon advocates of homosexuality to come out so they can be identified. It was not known why the youth league call upon advocates to come out. ‘We must uphold traditional values and not suck up to imported practices such as the so-called homosexuals. We emphatically condemn homosexuality with the contempt it deserves,’ Job Amupanda spokesperson of the Swapo youth league said in the local daily newspaper Namibian Sun.
The comments were denounced by legal and human rights experts as a violation of the right of dignity guaranteed by Article 88 of the Namibian constitution. Swapo party politicians have also called for the deportation and extermination of gay people in Namibia in the past. And lack of rainfall in the country has been blamed on homosexuality.