General News of Wednesday, 20 December 2017
The Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour, has stated categorically that Ghana is not ready to respect the rights of homosexuals and lesbians in this country.
Adding his voice to the highly sensitive debate on homosexuality which has been on the table for discussion after President Akufo Addo’s interview with Al Jazeera a month ago, the Minister declared that, Ghana is not ready to even discuss rights of homosexuals and lesbians.
The Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw made this statement when he delivered a speech at a dissemination forum organized by the Social Accountability Monitoring Committee (SAMC), in partnership with the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council and the Ghana Aids Commission, after visiting some prayer camps and healing centres in the Eastern Region, to access the state of Persons Living with HIV.
“The youth and young ones are now sexually active which beats my imagination, now the issue trending and emerging which is difficult to even discuss is homosexuality and lesbianism, which is alarmingly causing an increase in HIV prevalence”.
“Lesbianism and homosexuality is becoming a fashion in this country, now some popular spots have been identified as a safe haven for homosexuals and lesbians to carry out their acts, those who patronize those places are known, and they go there to feel comfortable among others who also share their way of life. They go there and do things to enjoy themselves shamefully all in the name of human rights, these people perpetuate their shameful acts putting everybody at risk “.
The Eastern Regional Minister Eric Kwakye Darfour then advised the committee and other relevant stakeholders to intensify their efforts in ending the HIV menace in the region.
“The committee has a responsibility to intensify their efforts, so I hope today as we do the dissemination, we will put it on the table and examine the situation, we should not massage the issues or recommendations, let us not miss words because if it is happening it is happening”.
“I want everyone to be part of this meeting because I do not like where we are going as a country and as a region. We are creating more jobs for the people and we need healthy community and healthy population, we cannot continue to jeopardize the health of the people and opportunities and prospects by living an irresponsible life”.
He added that “There is wisdom in following what has been given to us by our fathers as to how we can relate and co-habitat. Ghana is not ready to have homosexuals and lesbians now, I strongly do not think we are ready for such things”.
On her part, the Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Ghana Aids Commission, Madame Golda Asante, expressed shock at the number of People Living with HIV in prayer camps.
“After a visit to healing centres, prayer camps and some abode of herbalists in the region, we noticed that some of the structures which housed PLHIV were not in good conditions”.
“Secondly, we also noticed that most of the leaders of these herbal centres and prayer camps have little or no knowledge about HIV and AIDS. Some even could not differentiate between AIDS and HIV, as some believe they are acquired through dreams and eating with infested persons”.
“We also established that some PLHIV were sleeping in the mud when it rains, and on the bare floor of the facilities they were being held at which really broke our hearts. In our findings, we got to know that some prayer camps claimed to be curing HIV with fasting and prayers, while some herbal centres also claimed to be curing HIV with a mixture of orthodox medicines and herbs deceiving the general public”.
Madame Golda Asante explained that, the leaders of these prayer camps and healing centres were going to be sensitized on the disease and how to deal with it.
“Going forward, the Aids Commission will be engaging the leaders and pastors of these prayer camps to give them training and equip their knowledge on HIV and AIDS, for them to get a fair knowledge on the real issues. We are also encouraging them to refer such cases to health centres close to them for immediate medical attention, treatment and care”.
“This is a good course that civil society and other private entities can jump on, we are calling for immediate support to help reverse the trend and minimize the high prevalence rate in the region, so we want people to come out and help us organize the training for them”.