documentBy Amos Safo
Over the past few weeks the country has witnessed perhaps, one of the most intense debates on a government policy- the renaming of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to the "Ministry of Children Gender and Social Protection."
With the renaming of the ministry came the most controversial political appointment of all time- Nana Oye Lithur as the minister of the renamed ministry. In this first part of this article, I will focus on why the renaming with analysis on the 'gender' aspect of the ministry.
At the end I will make a strong case for all Ghanaians to reject the attempt by our political office holders to turn our beloved country into a nursing ground for gays and lesbians.
Consultation and planning
I firmly believe that a lot of thinking, consultation and planning must have gone into the renaming of the ministry. President John Mahama did not wake up one morning and decided to rename the ministry and appoint Nana Oye Lithur as its minister, judging from the specific question about the protection of gays and prostitutes Nana Oye asked President Mahama during his evening at the IEA.
Nana Oye asked President Mahama what he would do about the rights of 'prostitutes and men who have sex with men...." In response, the President thanked Nana Oye for her boldness in championing the course of gays and lesbians in Ghana and explained that many Ghanaians did not understand the plight of gays and lesbians or prostitutes.
Society, says the President, has a misconception about gays and lesbians and that they need our sympathy, not condemnation. "If you have children who are gays and lesbians, they are still your children", the President insisted.
Nana Oye's question and the President's carefully worded response are enough to convince the discerning mind that the whole debate about the new ministry and the controversy surrounding Nana Oye's appointment were carefully planned and executed. They did not come out of the blue.
It came as no surprise that Nana Oye was appointed by President Mahama and rubber-stamped by the NDC-dominated parliament, despite protestations by several well meaning Ghanaians, including the clergy, notably the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rev Dr. Emmanuel Martey and the Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Rev Palmer Buckle.
I am waiting to the hear the comments of Rev Emmanuel Asante, Bishop Charles Agyin Asare, Rev Opoku Nyina, Bishop Duncan Williams, Rev Lawrence Tetteh, Rev Ampiah Koufie and Rev Sam Kurankyi Ankrah on the vexed issue of gays and lesbians. These Reverend Ministers have been quick to wade into political issues to the point of dragging the church into dirty and divisive politics; but have been silent over such an immoral religious issue.
Rejected by African leaders
Somewhere in 2010, Nana Oye was rebuffed by African leaders spearheaded by Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in her quest to be a representative on the African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR). Perhaps, her appointment to the ACHPR would have been the launching pad of her advocacy for gay and lesbian rights to be enshrined in the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
Thankfully, that move was torpedoed by the likes of Jammeh and Mugabe, who even though are brutal dictators; for once fought a worthy course. Having failed to use the ACHPR platform to advocate for gays and lesbians, Nana Oye and her appointers now have the platform on a silver platter to use Ghana as a launching pad for the gay and lesbian agenda. Does this ring any bell in your ears?
What is gender?
Since the 1970s when the term 'gender' gained prominence it has been the aspirations of the 'new wave' of generations of feminists that development must be informed by gender analysis and that particular attention must be given to the needs of poor women. In other words, 'gender' rather than 'sex', Pearson (2000).
Put simply the term 'gender' in development studies looks at all aspects of social relationships between men and women, including access to resources for production, rewards or remuneration for work, distribution of consumption, income or goods, exercise of authority or power, gender-based division of labour and participation in cultural, political and religious activity, Pearson (2000).
From the above explanation, it is clear that 'gender' has little to do with the sexual preferences between men and men and women and women. In the renamed ministry, note the substitution of 'women' with 'gender' to create the impression that 'gender' connotes or embraces sexual preferences between men and men and women and women. Let nobody mislead Ghanaians into believing that 'gender' is about the rights of gays and lesbians.
'Gender' is about addressing the inequalities that exist between men and women; such as gender-based division of labour, unequal wages for the same work done and access to means of production etc. If it is the intention of President Mahama and his advisors to disguise 'gender' and present it as including same sex relationship, it will backfire.
Domestic Violence Act
When the Kufuor Administration first established the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, some gender activists probably with funding from overseas steamrolled into its operations, insisting that women should have the power to sue their husbands for spousal rape.
This delayed the passage of the Domestic Violence Act. Thanks to Mrs. Gladys Asmah; a morally upright woman who believes in the sanctity of marriage between men and women. As the sector Minister, Mrs. Asmah insisted that if women were given unfettered freedom under the Act to sue their husbands over spousal rape, it would lead to social breakdown and the very women and children supposed to be protected by the ministry would be the victims.
No doubt, Nana Oye and other gender activists were the driving force behind this move. I am not in anyway condoning spousal rape, and any man who forcefully has sex with the wife should be named and shamed; but the manner and style the gender activists wanted it instituted was worrying. With their growing influence even under Kufuor era, the gender activists lobbied and got Mrs. Asmah out of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.
The power of the lobbyists
Is it any wonder that President Mahama's pal, Andrew Solomon, has managed to get Ghanaians talking about gays and lesbians? In his famous letter to the New York Times a few weeks ago, he stated that as far as he and his constituents had succeeded in getting Ghanaians, at the highest level debating the issue, even if it bothered on lynching gays and lesbians, it was a major achievement.
Truly, in the world of lobbying, Andrew Solomon has attained a major feat. To have worked himself into the heart of our President and his ministers, and to have gotten the whole president of the first African country south of the Sahara to get independence to call him and apologise for his controversial information minister denying him( Solomon) publicly is no mean achievement.
When was the last time public officials spearheaded the discussion of a national issue like water shortage, road accidents, fire outbreaks, defilement, school dropout rate, teenage pregnancy etc, as they did onthe gay and lesbian issue?
This is what we get when we have power in the wrong hands. And this is what the Rev Emmanuel Asante led-National Peace Council and Dr. Afari Gyan imposed on Ghanaians. Nana Oye may have been passed as a minister, against public opinion and the voice of God; one snag however, is that she lacks legitimacy, just as the person who appointed her.
Misconception of the fundamental human rights
I add my voice to eminent persons like Rev Palmer Buckle, who argue that those who are fighting for the rights of homosexuals and lesbians have misconstrued the natural concept of fundamental human rights.
Dr. Akwasi Osei, the Chief Psychiatrist in an article on the issue recently argued that the Human 'Genome Project' has sufficiently debunked the myth of the 'gay gene' or the scientific basis for homosexuals. In other words it is not true that some people were born or are born with the 'gay gene'. The fact that some women have a high level of male hormones and vice versa cannot be equated to having a 'gay gene'. "It is simply an abnormality that needs medical attention", says Dr Osei.
In my opinion, equally needing psychological attention are those advocating for the legalization of same sex marriage. I think same sex marriage is simply a question of civilization in reverse gear. When people depend too much on science and technology; that is the outcome. We Ghanaians, and by extension Africans are still dependent on God, who is the source of our power and wisdom.
My basic understandings of human rights are those rights God himself gave to us- the right to life, the right to water and food, the right to shelter and the right to freedom of expression. These divine rights do not include same sex relationship.
Otherwise why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Nothing that runs counter to God's word can survive to eternity. God will not permit such a situation. Homosexuality is an evil in the sight of God. The word 'evil' is the word 'live' spelt backwards. Evil cannot prevail; it has the stamp of death on it.
My beef is that the renaming of the ministry as 'Children Gender and Social Protection" was just a ploy to open up Ghana to the world of gays and lesbians. Homosexuality as eloquently argued by Rev Palmer Buckle and Dr. Akwasi Osei has no scientific and natural basis and should be shunned by any civilized society. I have argued that the creation of the ministry and the appointment of Nana Oye Lithur as the minister against public opinion was well-planned and not just an after-thought.
The legacy of Andrew Solomon as the pioneer of the composite family system (having children without the natural intercourse between a man and woman) is dangerous for Ghana, and that seed should not be allowed to be sown in Ghana, let alone bearing evil fruits.