…As Parliament Laces Boot To Pass Bill
Ghana is at a crossroads over whether or not to criminalize all forms of homosexual activities in the country.
The government is in an apparent dilemma on how to respect the feelings of a majority of its people and remain sensitive to Human Rights issues.
The government headed by Nana Akufo-Addo’s name is set to go down in history as the government which passed a law which jails journalists when they write about sexual rights in the year 2023 and that would be injurious to the loudly trumpeted Human Rights records of the President.
For now, Parliament is set to pass the new law after recess with many questioning the resolve of the President to append his signature to the law that has already divided the nation.
It may be recalled that President Akufo-Addo remained rather unclear on his exact stance on the Bill and has equally fallen short of coming clear whether or not he would assent his signature to the Bill to finalize its passage into law for it to be Gazetted.
Recently, when the United States Vice President Kamala Harris visited Ghana and the question of whether the country has laws that criminalize sexual rights came up, he said “We don’t have any such legislation here in Ghana”. He was right but he did not add that Parliament is indeed armed to the teeth and ready to pass such a law without any form of restraint.
Even the political class is scared to speak against the dangerous aspects of the Bill for fear of losing the favour of their electorates.
What is even more curious is why the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, a human rights lawyer, has decided to make the world believe that the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights And Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 is being pushed by a few individual Parliamentarians.
Truth is the Bill is being pushed by Members of Parliament from both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) including some he has appointed into Government.
As though that’s not enough, the anti-LGBT Bill has taken a partisan political twist and any politician perceived to be speaking against its passage would be committing political suicide; no wonder none of the 275 Members of Parliament had the nerves to speak against it when the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin granted that open opportunity.
Nana Akufo-Addo simply said it was “a private Member’s Bill this is not an official legislation of the Government but it is one that has been mooted by a handful of private Members,”, but the President did not tell Kamala Harris that the “private Members” pushing for the passage of the Bill include key appointees of his Government plus Members of Parliament from his party and that his government has not distanced itself from the said appointees.
However, the government has not revealed that the said law, when passed would not only target the LGBT community but would jail media owners and journalists who speak in favour of LGBT persons. He did not add that even property owners who rent out their facilities to LGBT persons and their allies risk jail terms.
A key factor that has enhanced public support for the anti-LGBT Bill, officially known as the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights And Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, is the fact that though Ghana is a secular state by law, an overwhelming majority of its citizens are either Christians or Muslims, two religions which abhor same-sex relationships.
Even the Traditional African Religion sects, which constitute a negligible minority of the population, do not support anything LGBT.
A spin has been deliberately put on the interpretation of the Bill to misinform the public that opposing the Bill means supporting LGBT activities. A spin that has worked public emotions against opponents of the Bill and cowed them into docility
Many Ghanaians have been hoodwinked into believing that there is an attempt by some persons, mostly of foreign origins, to legalize same-sex marriages in Ghana and the anti-LGBT Bill is the antidote to that attempt.
In reality, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights And Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, only seeks to criminalize same-sex activities and jail its proponents whether or not they are consenting adults who hide in the closet. It further seeks to jail persons who even rent their facilities to LGBT persons and journalists who speak on their behalf.
Whether or not the president would have the courage to willingly assent to the bill remains a mystery time will tell.