NEFF Deputy President Kalimbo Iipumbu says marriage equality is a value that’s “foreign” to Namibia (Photo: Facebook)
The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) have accused the country’s Supreme Court of imposing “foreign” values on Namibians by legalising same-sex marriages conducted abroad.
While same-sex marriage remains illegal in Namibia itself, the court ruled on Tuesday that the state must recognise same-sex marriages registered in countries where they are legal.
According to the court, foreign same-sex spouses of Namibians must be given the same residence rights in Namibia that opposite-sex spouses are entitled to under the Immigration Act.
This decision makes Namibia the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to recognise same-sex marriages registered in another country.
The historic ruling has faced criticism from various religious groups and political parties including the NEFF, which has close ties to South Africa’s original EFF.
The political party argues that the Supreme Court is imposing “un-African” cultural values on Namibians.
NEFF Deputy President Kalimbo Iipumbu stated, “This ruling has forced us to recognise marriages recognised by foreign jurisdictions.” He added that “We have our own values and norms.”
The party has called for a national referendum on the issue. Iipumbu is reportedly part of a newly formed WhatsApp group called Namibia National Anti-Gay Demonstration, and has indicated his support for a protest against the court’s ruling.
When it comes to LGBTIQ+ equality, the NEFF differs from the EFF. The South African party has positioned itself as an ally to the LGBTIQ+ community and recently demonstrated against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The NEFF made its homophobic stance clear at its inception in 2014. Founder Epafras Mukwiilongo stated: “Today, the imperialists are manipulating and influencing our nation through homosexual practices. The NEFF is committed to uniting all Namibians to eradicate this evil practice. Namibia will never be governed by homosexuals.”
In 2021, Iipumbu restated the party’s ongoing opposition to LGBTIQ+ equality in an interview with New Era.
“Homosexuality should not be entertained at any cost. Our people should focus on productivity rather than fighting against God’s creation,” he said. “We should not entertain these horrific, satanic devil demons. Let us concentrate on developmental programs that enhance the well-being of our people and unequivocally condemn the practice of homosexuality.”
South Africa’s EFF has remained silent regarding the NEFF’s homophobic policies and rhetoric.