The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has indicated that a new law to criminalise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Queer (LGBTQ) activities in Ghana will be passed by the end of 2021.
His comments follow the presentation of a Bill to him by a group of MPs, including Ningo Prampram MP, Sam George, and some religious organisations.
The Private Member’s Bill seeks to establish a regime for the prohibition of all LGBTQ activities.
Addressing the group, Alban Bagbin said the practice, which is strongly abhorred by Ghanaians will not be allowed to take root in the country.
“I am very clear in my mind that the Parliament of Ghana will pass this Bill [to criminalise LGBTQ]. I have gone through it and I will confirm that the Bill will be a reference point for many countries. It has gone through all the provisions of the constitutions, laws, and international obligations.”
“I want to assure all of you that we will create room for the Bill to be presented to Parliament officially. We will refer it to the appropriate committee and take it through all the stages of processing a Bill, and it shall be passed this year,” the Speaker said.
The debate over the legalisation of LGBTQI rights in Ghana was revived earlier this year after police raided and closed down the offices of some LGBTQI campaigners at Ashongman in Accra.
Many religious bodies, parliamentarians, ministers, human rights advocates, supporters of the movement, and other relevant stakeholders waded into the discourse about the legalisation or criminalisation of homosexuality in Ghana.
While some say the practice, if allowed, will serve interests that are abhorrent to the culture and values of the Ghanaian people, others insisted that the rights of LGBTQI persons must be protected.
Worse than COVID-19
Describing LGBTQI activities as a pandemic, Alban Bagbin said it “must be fought by all of us.”
“I can tell you that it is more than COVID-19, and I am happy that our beloved country, Ghana, is together in this. The President has spoken, our traditional leaders have spoken, our religious leaders have spoken together, and Ghanaians have spoken with one voice, and we don’t want to do anything that has to do with LGBTQ activities. I will always do what is right because good will always triumph over evil.”
Homosexuality won’t be legalised under Nana Addo – Presidency
Following the Ashongman LGBTQI office raid and renewed pressure on the executive arm of government on the matter, President Akufo-Addo stressed that marriage between persons of the same sex will not be legalized under his presidency.
“For same-sex marriage to be legalized in Ghana, it will not happen in my time as President,” he stated emphatically.
Just recently, 21 LGBTQI activists were arrested in Ho in the Volta Region for allegedly holding a meeting to champion LGBTQI activities. The activists made up of 16 females and 5 males were subsequently granted bail.
LGBTQI rights in Ghana
Some persons have called for a specific law in Ghana to make homosexuality a criminal offence.
Although there are some provisions in the Criminal Code under which a homosexual can be prosecuted, especially for having intercourse with a partner, the belief is that a specific law must be enacted to declare homosexual relationships illegal.
Others have also called for a review of Ghana’s laws to be more accommodating of minority groups, as many countries are decriminalizing homosexuality.
In February 2020 for instance, the then Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, warned the World Bank against homosexuality conditions in development assistance to Ghana.