Yesterday, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appealed to Ghanaians to guide their debate on LGBTQ+ activities with civility and that the bill on the gay activities was before Parliament.
The President’s appeal is apparently coming in due to the insults, vilification and rising acrimony against LGBTQ+ practitioners and those upholding their rights ever since Mr Sam George ledseven other Members of Parliament (MPs) sponsored a bill aimed at criminalising LGBTQ+ activities in the country.
.The ‘Bill on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values’ was presented to Parliament on June 29, 2021.
The proponents of the bill want the promotion, advocacy, funding, and acts of homosexuality to be criminalised in the country.
All along Ghanaians knew that there were some of their compatriots and foreigners involved in LGBTQ+ activities in the country but in the dark and just expressed their disgust for it.
What might have provoked the MPs to sponsor the bill was the impudence with which the LGBTQI+ community in the country were coming public defending each other, especially following the arrest of 21 activists in Ho, the Volta Regional capital and police raid on a house at Ashongman in Accra that was being used as an office of LGBQI+ Rights and shelter for the LGBTQI+ community.
No doubt, the position of Sam George and his colleagues is the position of the general public, who think gay activities are unnatural and against the Ghanaian culture.
This might be the basis for most people lambasting prominent and expected-to-know-better Ghanaian academics like Professors Kwame Karikari and Audrey Gadzekpo, as well as legal luminaries like Akoto Ampaw and others in other fields of endeavour for rising to the defence of the gays, pleading that their human rights would be violated once the anti-LGBTQ+ bill is passed into law.
Whatever the position of Ghanaians, this paper joins the President in making the appeal for civility and that the bill is before Parliament, which means at this point, anything untoward by the public would just be unfortunate.
After all, following the noise resulting from the raid on the Ashongman LGBTQI office, President Akufo-Addo told the whole world that marriage between persons of the same sex would not be legalised in the country, not under his presidency.
“For same-sex marriage to be legalised in Ghana, it will not happen in my time as President,” Mr Akufo-Addo emphatically said at the time.
The Ghanaian Times is making reference to the President’s position to assure Ghanaians that once the President is to assent to the bill for it to become law, we are in safe hands.
This paper would not pretend not to have heard that the country’s development partners are trying all they can to foist acceptance of LGBTQ+ activities on the country and it is rumoured that some donors (countries and institutions) are threatening to withdraw their assistance should the leaders of the country criminalise LGBTQ+.
Though with no intention of pointing accusing fingers at any country or organisation, this paper would be grateful if those external forces would allow our representatives in Parliament to debate the bill thoroughly and exhaustively and present their reasons for acceptance or rejection of the bill.
Equally, let the Ghanaian public too note that we cannot usurp the role of our legislators in this matter; rather we should have confidence in them that they can handle the matter.