The Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriages concluded outside Namibia is an affirmation that all Namibians are equal before the law.
Namibia shines today blessed with the sacrifice of resisters and dreamers who want to achieve a Namibia that works for every Namibian.
It is important to put into context president Hage Geingob’s call for an inclusive Namibian house.
His open-mindedness and willingness to build a nation that embraces every single Namibian is testament to the progress we are witnessing in Namibia. Great leaders protect those who are vulnerable and seek justice on their behalf. By calling for an inclusive society, our president has done just that.
President Geingob’s administration has laid the groundwork for ensuring that basic liberties inherent to everyone are upheld and protected.
This is shown in how the president, through his administration, has made several appointments of different people along different lines.
For example, the president appointed someone from another political party as deputy minister of health.
His leadership is centred on equal rights for all, regardless of race, gender, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.
Last week’s Supreme Court decision is timely as it comes at a point when the rights of the LGBTIQ community are under threat in Namibia.
There have been longstanding allegations of exploitation of LGBTIQ individuals.
In addition, the culture of homophobia in Namibia has made it difficult for members of the LGBTIQ community to live full lives without fear.
Our Constitution provides everyone with the right to found a family.
As a country that is party to core regional and international human rights instruments, Namibia is obligated to protect, respect and guarantee equal rights for all.
It also has obligations under the African Union and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review ( UPR) where it has to report on the positive steps it has undertaken to improve the human rights situation in the country.
It is also important to underline that the minister of justice, Yvonne Dausab, has been at the helm of repealing discriminatory laws which continue to put more people at risk.
For far too long, too many Namibians felt as if justice was slipping out of their grasp; and that the rights and dignity of everyday people were being trampled on.
The LGBTIQ community has been the target of bigotry and hate and often felt powerless to speak up.
Last week the Supreme Court gave back power to the Namibian people.
The Namibian justice system sets itself apart in being for the people and sets a precedent for the African continent, a continent that is still fighting to discontinue cultural practices that infringe on the rights of women and minorities.
I believe in the rule of law and democracy, and having an expectation of government that all Namibians should be treated equally.
The law is the greatest equaliser and the greatest pillar of our democracy, and the greatest force against inequality and entrenchment.
The historic and progressive judgement of the Supreme Court is something every Namibian should be proud of.
It should inspire the spirit of inclusion and tolerance in our society. We should never be patient in the fight for equality.
- Fillemon Shikomba is a Namibian international human rights lawyer based in New York.