Ghana: Anti-Gay Bill - Parliament Won't Disappoint - Majority Leader Assures

Accra Central, Accra, Ghana in 2019 (file photo).
13 October 2021

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has assured that Parliament would not disappoint the citizenry on the raging debate ongoing whether or not Ghana should legalise same sex relationships.

He said as representatives of the people, the House would "do the needful" when it reconvenes later this month to end the first session of the Eighth Parliament of the Republic.

Whether or not Ghana should legalise the activities of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI+) people was reignited when 'intellectuals' led by renowned lawyer, Akoto Ampaw, called on the House to reject the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill which is currently before the House.

Their demands of Parliament triggered reaction from Muslim and Christian organisations who in dozens of memoranda urged the House to pass the Bill against proactive LGBTQI+ activities in the country.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP, Suame said the House would not turn its back on the values of the country.

"Members of Parliament are representatives of the people and the citizens of this country should be rest assured that parliament would not turn its backs on them. We represent their interest in Parliament and will do what is needful.

"As Ghanaians, we have our own upbringing and we have our own set of values irrespective of which part of the country we come from. We have our set of values which guide us in life," he told the media.

According to the seventh term lawmaker, upbringing of the citizenry have been impacted by religious and traditional values and "I do not know any ethnic or religious group that would applaud issues of LGBTQI+ in Ghana.

"We have listened to the concerns and prayers of the people and as I said, Parliament will do the needful," he said.

The leader pleaded with the various sects arguing for and against the Bill to "cut-off the emotions and sentiments because once we do that, it clouds the rationality of the issues."

He, however, asked the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin to stop making predetermination for the House even before it ponders on the Bill.

Mr Bagbin in an earlier meeting with religious groups said he was pro-life and that the House would pass the Bill.

"Ghanaians have spoken with one voice. I sit here as Speaker of Ghana, I represent Ghanaians and the country Ghana. We have spoken with one voice that we don't want anything to do with whatever things they add [to the LGBTQI]," he said in an earlier engagement.

But Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the former Nadowli-Kaleo lawmaker lacks the locus to make such definite statements on behalf of Parliament because he is not a lawmaker.

"If I heard right, the Speaker was even saying that the bill is going to be passed but I have a little bit of challenge with that. Technically the speaker is not even a Member of Parliament, the speaker cannot commit Parliament.

"The Speaker can make a referral to Parliament which will be programmed by the business committee for consideration. I will find it difficult if we have a speaker who will in spite of his own antecedent as former Member of Parliament to say that Parliament is going to pass the bill. It is a bit of a difficulty.

"I am not saying that parliament is not going to pass the bill but the speaker should not make a predetermination for the House because he is not a member of parliament and this is the business of parliament."

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