General News of Sunday, 27 May 2018
In very strong language laced with banter, Parliament on Thursday minced no words to express disgust, revulsion and angst against attempts by people, backed by some foreign elements to legalise sodomy in Ghana.
Earlier at separate fora, Prof Aaron Michael Oquaye, the Speaker of the House, and Second Deputy Speaker Alban Sumana Bagbin had registered their position, that, under no circumstance would they countenance and endorse any attempts to legalise the practice, which the MPs said was debasing and below the behaviour of animals.
Speaker Oquaye had threatened to resign his position, and Mr Bagbin vowed to kick against any attempts by foreign countries to impose homosexuality on Ghanaians.
“If anybody should bring such a thing to parliament and I have to preside over that, I’d rather resign than subscribe to this delusion,” Prof Oquaye had said.
The disgust of the entire House stemmed from comments from British Prime Minister Theresa May, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London last April, urging Commonwealth countries to bring to an end a legacy of anti-homosexual discrimination, blaming Britain’s history of colonialism for criminalising same-sex relationships.
The Prime Minister had said that the UK would support member states which sought to reform “outdated” legislation affecting the relationships, or failed to protect women and girls.
Gay and lesbian rights campaigners urged Ms May to intervene over the legislation affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, as same sex relations were still illegal in 36 Commonwealth countries.
The Prime Minister indicated further that the U.K. was ready to help Commonwealth nations to repeal anti-gay laws and embrace homosexuality.
The comment attracted wide condemnation among Ghanaians, among which the Presidency issued a statement to the effect that it will not be under the Presidency of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo that same-sex marriage will be legalised in Ghana.
And on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, the plenary of the House re-visited the issue, with both the Majority and Minority Sides stating in clear terms their avowed disinterest to endorse legislation in favour of the practice of homosexuality and lesbianism.
Three MPs from both Sides of Ghana’s Parliament- Dr Bernard Okoe, from the Majority Side of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and MP for Ledzokuku Constituency; Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah, President of the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship and MP for Ho West, and Rev Helen Adzoa Ntoso, MP for Krachi West from the Minority Side of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) made statements on homosexuality and lesbianism, which exposed the negative health consequences of the practice, mental issues and increased suicidal attempts. According to Dr Boye, recent reports by the National AIDS Commission showed a rise of 70.15 per cent in HIV prevalence rate, and attributed the increase a rise in the practice of homosexuality and lesbianism.
“Mr Speaker, the medical narrative given so far shows a strong negative correlation between homosexuality and health outcomes,” the MP, a medical doctor, drew the attention of the House that the practice offended the cultural and religious values of the land.
In their joint statement, Mr Bedzrah and Rev Ntoso noted that “this is not the first time the issue if LBGT was raised and Presidents both past and present have been called upon to state the position of the State.
“But recent trajectories and continuous call on us as a State to indicate our position on the matter, appeared to us as calculated attempt to promote or pressurise the Government to accept what otherwise is alien and unacceptable to us as Ghanaians and a sovereign nation to build a prosperous society.
“Mr Speaker, the position of Ghana on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) is a common knowledge and explicitly stated in our statutes. And one wonders why the question keeps popping up. We find such questions as an attempt to undermine our God given ability to decipher what is right or wrong to us as Ghanaians and to a large extent as Africans.”
In her contribution to the statements, Ms Laadi Ayii Ayamba, the Ranking Member of the Gender and Children Committee, and MP for Pusiga Constituency in the Upper East Region, informed the House of an approach made to her and some colleague legislators to lobby them to support legislation in favour of homosexuality and lesbianism.
She said at a forum in which she and Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, Deputy Majority Leader participated, the issue about LGBT was raised and they were asked if they could help fight for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender.
“I, in particular, made them understand that for us we will be discussing and taking it up but they should come and sit in the public gallery and declare that they are the gay people in Ghana and also present the matter to Mr. Speaker and hear what they will say. Believe me or not, it brought the discussion to an end. As for Hon Adwoa she simply said ‘my father will slaughter me’.”
Ms Ayamba said: “It is horrible, not acceptable and I think that we in this House should be the first people to come out to put it right to anybody that is coming out with whatever they want to call it that we will not take it, we represent the people of Ghana, we represent our constituents [and] we would not have been here if men were marrying men or women marrying women.” “..Mr Speaker, let us urge our educational institutions to talk against this particular issue,” she stressed.
Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka said that MPs would forge a united front and against any bill that would seek to legalise homosexuality in the country.
He said the Speaker should stay in office, rather than resigning should such gay rights bill come before the House, so that the entire Parliament-Speakership, Leadership and Membership- would unitedly reject the legislation. He called the practice and the pushing of legislation for its support “madness”.
Alhaji Muntaka wondered why the practice of sodomy could be called a right, saying “it is not right issue, but a “left” issue, and asked further if people would advocate the sniffing of cocaine and murder and call them rights issue since people engaged in those bad practices.
“Our country will not tolerate it in any form it will come,” he cautioned. “Many of us who are strongly against this madness will definitely stay in the house and fight to throw the supposed bill away, he said, and called on African leaders to tell their Western counterparts, right there and in their face, without mincing words, when they meet at international fora that homosexuality offends African values.
Mr Matthew Nyindam, the First Deputy Majority Chief Whip said it was totally against African cultural values for a man to have sex with a man.
“God created Adam and Eve for a purpose – that is for procreation and normal sex enjoyment – so people who practice homosexuality must have some mental and spiritual problems, and should be delivered,” he said.”
Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Sadiq, Inner City and Zongo Development Minister and MP for Madina, queried the proponents of sodomy if they had ever seen a cock mounting a cock or a hen mating a hen.
“We must be connected by the opposite sex, not same sex,” he said, adding, unnatural practices could be practiced elsewhere, but not in Ghana.
Mr Bagbin, who was in the Speaker’s chair, in a contribution, said the nation would not compromise on its position and would not allow itself to be dictated to by the West.
“We are no longer the small boys and girls of any country,” Mr Bagbin said.