I never indicted NPP MPs over LGBTQ+ Bill

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NPP Deeputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri BoahenNPP Deeputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen

• Nana Obiri Boahen believes the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill will be passed by parliament

• The NPP Deputy Secretary has denied indicting MPs from his party for not openly supporting the Bill

• According to him discussions around the subject should be devoid of political and religious sentiments

Deputy General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Nana Obori Boahen, has stated that contrary to some reports, he has not faulted the members of his party in parliament over their proportionally smaller number in the team pushing for legislation against LGBTQ+ activities.

Out of eight MPs leading a private member’s bill before parliament, seeking the criminalization of LGBTQ+, only one person is from the Majority bloc made up NPP MPs.

According to reports, Nana Obiri Boahen in a recent interview with JoyNews expressed disappointment in the NPP MPs for not openly supporting the passage of the Bill.

But speaking in an interview with Okay FM monitored by GhanaWeb, Nana Obori Boahen refuted the claims that he had indicted the MPs in his party.

“It was never as if I was indicting the NPP MPs, God forbid. I don’t know what some of the journalists are seeking. I was asked of my opinion and I stated my support for the Bill and added that I was surprised the MPs who presented the Bill are largely NDC MPs.

“The only NPP MP among them is Reverend Ntim Fordjour and I said I was surprised the NPP MPs were not much. That was all, I never indicted NPP MPs and I will never indict the NPP MPs,” he added.

He explained that ensuring LGBTQ+ activities are stopped is a fight which must not be pursued on either political or religious lines but rather requires a holistic nationalist approach as the practice of gay and lesbianism among others goes contrary to Ghanaian national values.

The private legal practitioner said the Bill, owing to the Ghanaian setup and practice, is bound to succeed. It however will not be wrong for some parties to express concerns about some portions without altering the fundamental aim of the Bill which is to stop LGBTQ+ activities in the country.

“This is not a matter for NPP MPs, this is not a matter for NDC MPs, this is not a matter for Christians or Muslims. I am being honest and sincere, having regards to the circumstance of our cultural setup and social values the Bill will be passed. Whether there are MPs who like it or not the Bill will be passed, regardless of whether NPP or NDC,” he said.

When the parliament of Ghana reconvenes on October 26, 2021, one of the first things it will consider as part of its businesses is a Bill that will unequivocally criminalize LGBTQ+ activities if passed.

The 38-page bill before parliament, among other things, stipulates that people of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction, to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”

The Bill targets persons who “hold out as a lesbian, a gay, a transgender, a transsexual, a queer, a pansexual, an ally, a non-binary or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.”

The Bill also targets promoters and advocates of LGBTQ+ rights including “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill” as well as a person who “promotes, supports sympathy for or a change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the Bill.”

As part of its provisions, the Bill outlines that a flouter can be sentenced to a jail term of not less than six years or not more than ten years imprisonment.

At the back of the public support the Bill has received, a group of academicians and other professionals have expressed their opposition to the Bill.

According to the group of 18, the Bill, Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, when passed into law, would erode a raft of fundamental human rights, as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.

Members of the group opposing the anti-gay Bill include Mr Akoto Ampaw; author, scholar and former Director of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Prof. Emerita Takyiwaa Manuh; a communications and media expert, Prof. Kwame Karikari; the Dean of the University of Ghana (Legon) School of Law, Prof. Raymond Atuguba, and the Dean of the University of Ghana School of Information and Communication Studies, Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo.

The Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata; the Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, and a former Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, Prof. Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, are also members of the group.

Others are Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Dr Yao Graham, Mr Kwasi Adu Amankwah, Dr Kojo Asante, Mr Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, Mr Akunu Dake, Mr Tetteh Hormeku-Ajie, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Dr Joseph Asunka and Nana Ama Agyemang Asante.