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Minister of Home Affairs Jerry Ekandjo
"In Namibia most of them [homosexuals] are of European origin."
 real 28k

Elizabeth Kahas, The Rainbow Project
"We are here, black lesbians, black gay men, and nobody can say we are not Namibians, we are not Africans."
 real 28k

Monday, 2 October, 2000, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Namibia gay rights row
President Sam Nujoma
President Nujoma has also attacked homosexuals
Namibia's controversial Home Affairs Minister Jerry Ekandjo is reported by state television to have urged newly graduated police officers to "eliminate" gays and lesbians "from the face of Namibia".

He was reported to have told the 700 police men and women "even if gays and lesbians had a gay dog they would murder it."


Let the homosexuals themselves phone me, then I can give them the answer

Jerry Ekandjo
A spokeswoman for an organisation promoting gay and lesbian rights in Namibia called on the government publicly to reject the remarks.

Namibia's President Sam Nujoma has previously criticised gays and lesbians calling them "unnatural", thereby taking a similar stance to his close ally, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Unrepentant

Speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa, Mr Ekandjo refused to confirm or deny the remarks, but asked the journalist if he was a homosexual.


I think that we have to do a lot of human rights education for our politicians

Elizabeth Kahas
"Have the homosexuals there sent you?" he asked, and added he would only discuss the matter with homosexuals.

"Let the homosexuals themselves phone me, then I can give them the answer." Mr Ekandjo said, "in Namibia they are happy about my statement".

Dispute

A representative of the Rainbow Project, an organisation that promotes gay and lesbian rights, Elizabeth Kahas, condemned Mr Ekandjo's statement.

View of street
Mr Ekandjo claims there are no black Namibian homosexuals
"I think it is a very outrageous statement to make from a minister who is supposed to protect all the people of Namibia regardless of their sexual orientation," she said.

She also disputed Mr Ekandjo's claim that the constitution did not guarantee rights to homosexuals.

"I think that we have to do a lot of human rights education for our politicians in that this particular minister is not knowledgeable about the constitution of this country," she said.

Constitution

She added that the constitution guaranteed the rights of all Namibians, regardless of sexual orientation.

This is not the first time Mr Ekandjo has been in the news for his views.

In August he said he would withdraw the work permits of foreign judges who made judgements that were perceived as against government policy.

He was later forced to retract his remarks and issue an apology.

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See also:

29 May 00 | Africa
Banana sex appeal rejected
03 Nov 99 | Africa
Gay doctor flees Uganda
23 Oct 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Fighting for gay rights in Zimbabwe
31 Jan 99 | Africa
Gay rights win in South Africa
12 Aug 98 | Top features
Homosexual and hated in Zimbabwe
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