General News of Thursday, 13 July 2017
Ghana’s third most-powerful man, its speaker of parliament, says Africans are increasingly becoming fed up with external forces trying to force alien cultures on them.
Prof Mike Ocquaye, a seasoned lawyer and law lecturer, said it was unacceptable that foreign governments and groups were using the issue of human rights to champion acts such as homosexuality, bestiality etc.
He made the comments during a meeting with members of the international rights group, Amnesty International (AI), who called on him on Tuesday. Among the issues AI raised was the need to scrap death sentence from Ghana’s statutes but LGBT rights did not come up specifically.
“Following what Tony Blair said which I personally wrote him a letter that if we do not go the homosexual way, it was going to affect their aid to us. Honestly, in view of these developments, we Africans are also concerned about certain things that may appear really intellectual.
‘‘It is becoming a human right in some countries. The right to do homosexuality. The right for a human being to sleep with an animal. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated …,” the Speaker stressed.
In 2012, the then-U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, warned African countries that they risked aid cuts if they failed to respect gay rights. Ghana’s president at the time, the late John Evans Atta Mills, rejected the threat stating that the UK could not impose its values on Ghana.
As at 2012, some 41 nations within the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexual acts. Incidentally, many of these laws are a legacy of British colonial rule. Former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh had promised to slit the throats of homosexuals.
The latest African government that has warned same-sex couples is Tanzania. At a recent rally, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country.
“Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things,” Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma.
“If we establish that any organisation registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights … I will deregister that organisation. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court … and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country.”