President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Mathew Gyamfi, has expressed concern over the most recent comment of President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo on the ongoing debate on whether to legalise LGBT activities in the country or not.
The Bishop, in an interview with Catholic Trends stated that the President should have spoken more boldly to represent the views of the Ghanaian people who have expressed their opposition to the legalization of LGBT activities.
“We expect our president to have spoken more boldly to say what the people of Ghana, at least, have said up till now. Even if it has not been passed in Parliament yet. At least, he knows what the people have sent. So he should say this is what the people are saying, and this is most likely what is going to happen because this is what the people say,” Bishop Gyamfi said.
He noted that it was expedient for the President to have by now understood the people’s position and state same even if it (The Anti LGBT Bill) has not yet been passed in Parliament.
The comment by the prelate comes after a resurfaced controversy over LGBT rights following the arrival of US Vice President, Kamala Harris in the country.
As part of US Vice President’s visit to Ghana, she discussed human rights issues with President Nana Akufo-Addo, including the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill that could imprison LGBTQ individuals and their advocates.
While Ms. Harris did not directly address the bill, she emphasized the importance of supporting freedom and equality for all people, calling it a human rights issue.
She said “I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting the fighting for equality among all people, and that all people be treated equally. I will also say that this is an issue that we consider, and I consider to be a human rights issue, and that will not change.”
President Akufo-Addo declined to comment on the bill’s fate if passed, choosing instead to wait and see what parliament decides.
While clarifying that there is currently no such legislation in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that the bill has been proposed and is being reviewed by parliament.
“The Attorney General has found it necessary to speak to the committee about it regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions,” he said. “But at the end of the process, I will come in.”
The President expressed confidence that the Parliament will take into account both human rights concerns and the sentiments of the Ghanaian people when reaching a decision on the bill.
He noted that the bill is a private member’s bill and not an official legislation of the government, and that substantial modifications have already been made as a result of the Attorney General’s intervention.
What President Akufo-Addo said
“First of all we don’t have any such legislation here in Ghana, a bill has been proposed to the Parliament of Ghana which has all kinds of ramifications which is now being considered by the parliament.
“It hasn’t been passed, so the statement that there is legislation in Ghana to that effect is not accurate. No legislation.
“The bill is going through the parliament, it’s going through the parliament, the Attorney General has found it necessary to speak to the committee about it regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions and the Parliament is dealing with it but at the end of the process I will come in.
“I have no doubt that the Parliament of Ghana will sure as it is done in the past, one first of all, its sensitivity to Human Rights issues as well as to the feelings of our population and we’ll come out of the responsible response to the to to the proposed legislation.
“It’s a private member’s bill this is not an official legislation of the government but it is one that has been being mooted by a handful of private members, so we will see what the final outcome of it. But my understanding from a recent discussion I had with the chairman of the committee is substantial elements of the bill have already been modified as a result of the intervention of the Attorney General, we will see what the final outcome will be…”
Listen to the full interview below