16 January 2013

Ghana: Oye Lithur On the Carpet - Kpesah Whyte to Her Rescue

Anti-corruption campaigner, P. C. Appiah Ofori has fired the first shot at the nomination of Nana Oye Lithur as minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, calling on the President to rescind his decision in nominating the gender right activist for such a sensitive position.

According to the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Esikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, Mrs. Lithur's stance on homosexuality does not qualify her to work in a ministerial capacity in a country whose traditions consider such practices as abominable in its societies.

"Oye Lithur's position on homosexuality does not qualify her for such ministerial position. If you support such a person for that ministerial position, she would use her office to advocate for such irresponsible behavior," argues the anti-corruption campaigner.

Mr. Ofori made the comments on Monday in an interview with Okay FM, a local radio nation in the capital, Accra during its 12 O'clock news segment.

But in a swift response in defense of the gender right activist, Political Scientist, Dr. Kpesah Whyte said those opposed to her nomination clearly misunderstood her position on homosexuality.

"Over the years, due to her very fine activities in the area of human rights, many people have misconstrued her demands for the need to protect the right of all manner of people, including gays and lesbians, to mean that she is encouraging the act of same sex marriages," Dr. Kpesah Whyte was quoted as saying by www.radioxyzonline.com.

Mr. Ofori's call was earlier in the day reaffirmed by the Concerned Clergy Association of Ghana, a religious pressure group whose Spokesperson is Bishop Prince Benny Wood.

The group had opposed the appointment of Nana Oye Lithur and Dr. Raymond Atuguba as the Executive Secretary to the President since their respective positions may help influence the country in passing laws which will support gay rights.

The two, according to the group, are strong supporters of gay rights in the country.

Continuing, the former MP urged all those who matter in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to press on the President to rescind his position in nominating Mrs. Lithur for the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry.

He also called on both NDC and NPP MPs to oppose to the appointment of the gender right activist saying "it is a disgrace to the nation to appoint such a person who advocates for homosexuality."

That notwithstanding, he urged the Appointments Committee of Parliament to critically look into the issue of homosexuality when vetting Mrs. Lithur before recommending her approval to the House.

"Unfortunately, I am not in Parliament. If I was to be in Parliament and the Appointments Committee had recommended to the House for her approval as minister, I would oppose it vehemently," he noted.

He was of the firm belief that homosexuality shouldn't be encouraged in the country, "adding anyone who supports such practices should be condemned in no uncertain terms."

In the heat of the homosexuality discussion in the country, Human rights lawyer, Nana Oye Lithur came out publicly to condemn those oppose to gay and lesbian rights.

Former President Mills was on record to have denounced gay and lesbian rights but in rebuttal, Nana Oye Lithur said the former President's denouncement does not set aside the guaranteed constitutional rights of all persons including homosexuals in the country.

She said irrespective of the President's abhorrence of homosexuality and the country's traditions and social stigma against it, gays do not infringe on any legal or constitutional provisions while exercising their sexual preference. She noted that the country's laws on the criminal Code are silent on homosexuality.

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