Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ghana’s president delays decision on anti-LGBTQ bill

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo is set to delay taking a decision on the recently passed controversial anti-LGBTQ bill.

Lawmakers in Ghana passed the bill last week, three years since the process started.

“The Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021” was passed unanimously.

The bill seeks to prohibit LGBTQ activities and also clump down on promoters, advocates those who provide funding.

Offenders could be jailed for between 6 months to 3 years. Promoters and sponsors of the act could also face a jail term between 3 to 5 years.

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Human rights activists have called on Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. It awaits his assent but he has signalled that would delay.

On Monday the president said he wants to await the Supreme Court’s ruling following a legal challenge to the passed bill.

It is only after that would the president make a decision on the bill. He told members of the Diplomatic Corps that Ghana’s commitment to upholding its Human Rights record remains strong.

What the president said

“I am aware that last week’s bi-partisan passage by Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a Private Member’s motion, has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law. I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be con-templated or occasioned.”

“I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk. But, suffice it to say, that I have learnt that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation.

“In the circumstances, it would be, as well, for all of us to hold our hands, and await the decision of the Court before any action is taken. The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country.”

Before the president’s statement, the country’s finance ministry has said in a statement that the bill could lead to a loss of $3.8 billion in World Bank financing over the next five to six years if it becomes law.

That would derail a $3 billion IMF loan package, the finance ministry said in this statement advising the president not to sign the bill into law.

“A derailed IMF programme will have dire consequence on the debt restructuring exercise and Ghana’s long-term debt sustainability,” it said.


Ghana’s parliament passes anti-LGBTQ bill


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