Our cultural values and norms under siege by ‘18 intelligentsia’

The last time I read about the Intelligentsia was in the subject Government at the sixth form. The African Intelligentsia, a group of educated Africans formed in Cape Coast, then the hub of intellectual and political activism during the colonial era.

Those educated elitesused their literacy to protest against the decision by the colonial masters to pass the Land Bills in the 1890s to allow the colonial administrators to take over what they thought was waste land or public land.

To allow that to happen meant the indigenes would have been land-less, so the Intelligentsia were very vocal against it.Indeed, they had the support of the chiefs. They actually gave inspirations for the formation of the Aborigines’ Right Protection Society to fight the same cause.

Today, agroup of academics, lawyers and some civil society organisations in Accra, numbering 18,have sent proposals to Parliament to reject the consideration and passage of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Bill, 2021, introduced as private member bill to criminalise homosexuality, gay, lesbianism and other practices like them. Their posture is not akin to the African Intelligentsia of the colonial era who stood for the common good.

The 18 intelligentsia are not advocating the interest of the larger Ghanaian society because they are rather fighting for what is an affront to the society’s cultural values. Their stand has caused some members of the Ghanaian society to even perceive them as doing the bidding of some unseen hand pulling the strings and fighting for the  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, inter-sex, queer or questioning. asexual (LGBTQ+), an alien practice, to take root in a society that strongly abhors that sexual orientation.

In fact, their unexpected advocacy casts them as alienated Ghanaians and Africans for that matter.

According to the “18 Intelligentsia”, the passage of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Bill, 2021, which seeks to criminalise the LBGTQ+ practice, is, as they put it, “blatant violation of human rights” as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution that promotes fundamental human freedoms.

Not satisfied with the press conference by the “18 Intelligentsia”, some churches and other Christian bodiedon Wednesday stormed Parliamentwith their “arsenals” giving unflinching support to the ‘Sam George Caucus’s private member bill to outlaw the LBGTQ+. The force with which the Christians went to Parliament can be described in the Akan language as “Enibreasem”, a serious matter not to be toyed with.

They say they are not going to be cowed to accept an alien culture into the Ghanaian community and the country at large. No way, not here!!

And did you hear them loud and clear? “…we have to take the values and principles of the Kingdom of God to the street…we want all Christians to arise, so that we go out there to stand for the principles and values of the Kingdom of God’ That is the only way it can bring deliverance to our nation.”

This was in apparent reference to the advocacy of the “18 Intelligentsia” who seem to have vowedto galvanise support, including street march, to reject the consideration and passage of the bill into law.

The Muslim community and other identifiable groups have also submitted proposals and petitions to Parliament in support of passage of the bill.

Indeed, interesting times are unfolding in Ghana. Others are also lacing their boots and storm Parliament in like manner to call the law making body to pass the law and protect the dignity and sanctity of the Ghanaian society.

For some of the “18 Intelligentsia”who may not have been to “Makola”(the country’s law school close to the Makola Market) to stray into the arena of law to defend the cause of LBGTQ+ suggests that the issue is not a preserve of the members of the learned profession.

Though the “18 intelligentsia” have articulated their views well and appear to have made them pleasant to the ears of the LGBTQ+ practitioners; their views are abhorred by the rest of the society. With due respect to group of Professor this, Dr. that,”Will they allow their children to practise LBGTQ+? What about themselves? They should think about it.

The position of the “18 Intelligentsia”that the bill before Parliament is a violation of human rights as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution rather sounds interesting, especially against the backdrop of the fact that we do not have absolute freedom!

 The 1992 Constitution of Ghana upholds the freedom and Independence of the media in Chapters 162 and 163, yet the same Constitution goes on in Chapter 164 to talk about “Limitations of Rights and Freedom” to the extent of saying that “Theprovisionsof these articles 162 and 163 of this Constitution are subject to laws that are reasonably required in the interest of national security, public morality and for the purpose of protecting the reputations, rights and freedoms of others persons.”

If even as a journalist, I do not enjoy absolute freedom to practise a profession that uphold the public good, why should LGBTQ+ practitioner have absolute freedomwithout any reasonable law checking his desires and practices that are inimical  to  “national security, public order, and public morality”?

Clearly, the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Bill, 2021 seeks to protect national security, public order and public morality

Besides, our motto Freedom and Justice suggests the freedom to protect and defend our cultural norms and values, so “trumutrumu” has no place in our culture and must be rejected!

And to those who stand on the Tower of Avery to preach and postulate universalism of values and want to tie it to dole-outs, let them know that it is about cultural identity and not universalism. The world is no place for universalised culture. What is good here is not necessarily good elsewhere.

More importantly, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which all nations have subscribed to at the United Nation level to guide the global community’s pursuit of human freedoms and rights does not state anywhere in the 30 Articles the promotion of LBGTQ+ .

Indeed, Article 16 states succinctly that “Men and Women of full age, without any limitations due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.”

We all know since Adam that marriage is a consent between man and woman!

Let those LBGTQ+ practitioners who have found themselves in the morass come out boldly for deliverance from the warmth hands of society, through counselling and reformation!

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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