Obiri Boahene Unhappy With NPP MPs Pro-Gay Posturing

Nana Obiri Boahen Deputy General Secretary of the NPP Nana Obiri Boahen Deputy General Secretary of the NPP

Deputy General Secretary of the governing NPP, Nana Obiri Boahene is worried over the silence of the majority of NPP MPs over the bill criminalizing activities of homosexuals.

According to him, apart from NPP MP, John Ntim Fordjour, every other name mentioned when the issue comes up, is that of an NDC MP.

But the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, has responded to concerns that the Majority Caucus in Parliament is not supporting the anti-LGBTQ+ bill currently before the House.

The Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP, noted that his side supports the bill that seeks to criminalise homosexuality in principle, stressing, however, that there are aspects of it which is defective and must be fixed.

Speaking to JoyNews' Kwesi Parker Wilson, Nana Obiri Boahene said "I am surprised that I don't see a good number of the NPP MPs championing this cause, I am worried."

Mr Boahene, who described the practice of gayism and lesbianism as embarrassing, insulting and nauseating wants NPP MPs to let their voices be heard.

The bill in parliament, is being spearheaded by six members of parliament, including only one NPP MP, John Ntim Fordjour.

This comes after top clergymen and Islamic clerics presented memos to the House's Committee of Constitution and Legal Affairs on Wednesday, in support of the bill.

The Church of Pentecost, has declared its readiness to vote out any political party that stands against the passage of the bill.

However, a series of memoranda, which oppose the legislation, have also been presented to the Committee. The sponsors of the memoranda describe the bill as an endorsement of state-sponsored violence against minority groups and an infringement on their human rights.

However, Nana Obiri Boahene, believes that since the discussions of LGBTQ+ is not only limited to the NPP or NDC, all well-meaning Ghanaians should join the discussions to ban their activities.

"No person should even encourage that we should not be talking about that, we should stop it. How do we discuss this even in the public domain," he added.

Mr Boahen, also urged Akoto Ampaw and his colleagues leading the charge to oppose the Anti LGBTQ+ bill, to abandon their position.

He said that "please my good brothers and sisters, it has got nothing to do with religion, it has nothing to do with politics, it has something to do with due respect and common sense, drop it."

But the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP, noted democratic principles and freedoms of the people should not be curtailed by the bill.

Frank Annoh-Dompreh's comment was in reaction to Nana Obiri Boahene.

The anti-gay bill is sponsored by NDC MP for Ningo Prampram, Sam George and other NDC MPs, with only Reverend Ntim Fordjour listed as co-sponsor.

The bill was initiated by eight MPs, seven of whom are from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), with one being a New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislator.

The NDC MPs are those for Ningo-Prampram (Samuel Nartey George), Kpando (Dela Adjoa Sowah), Ho West (Emmanuel Bedzrah), Tamale North (Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini), Krachi West (Helen Adjoa Ntoso), La Dadekotopon (Rita Naa Odoley Sowah) and South Dayi (Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor).

The NPP signatory is the MP for Assin South, Reverend John Ntim Fordjour.

The eight MPs say it is their ardent belief that the passage of the bill to deal with LGBTTQQIAAP+ is apt, considering a 2017 report of the Science Research Council, communicated at the fourth National HIV and Aids Research Conference in Accra.

But the Majority Chief Whip, said the discussion of the issue should transcend political lines.

"It's unfortunate the LGBTQ bill is being politicised. As the majority caucus in Parliament, we agree in principle that legislation that protects Ghanaian values in all areas of life must be supported. However, the bill, as it is now, is defective," he tweeted on Saturday.

He added, "We need to fine-tune it to ensure that it maximises the protection of rights and freedoms in consonance with democratic principles as we have practised uninterrupted for over three decades."

The bill is currently before Parliament's Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, receiving memoranda from the general public.

The Church of Pentecost has, in its memoranda to the committee, sent its strongest caution yet to government regarding the legislation against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer and their related activities (LGBTQ+) in Ghana.

National Chairman of the Church, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, said his outfit will vote out any political party that stands against the passage of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.

Meanwhile, a group of academics and lawyers comprising Akoto Ampaw, Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, have also voiced concerns about the bill, arguing it will dent Ghana's image as a bastion of democracy because of clauses in the bill that curtails individual rights and freedoms.

The MPs insist that there is currently no legislation that specifically criminalises advocacy for, funding, promotion or encouragement of LGBTTQQIAAP+ activities, except the inchoate provisions in Act 29, namely, preparation for committing certain criminal offences, abetment of a criminal offence and conspiracy.

"This gap in the law creates opportunities for advocates of LGBTTQQIAAP+ activities to sponsor and promote the proliferation of those sexual activities. The effect of these sponsorship and promotion is that young persons are lured to assimilate otherwise unacceptable forms of sexual expressions," they say.

"Credible reports from the Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values indicate instances when young persons are promised travel opportunities, allowances and other gifts to cause them to engage in or advocate LGBTTQQIAAP+.

"In some instances, young persons, mostly students in colleges, are awarded commission for luring other young persons to join LGBTTQQIAAP+ groups."

A memorandum accompanying the bill shows that it contains 25 clauses that will be subject to amendment during consideration by the committee to which it has been referred.

Clause 1 of the bill prohibits, among other things, a person from holding him or herself out as a lesbian, a gay man, a bisexual, transgender, a transsexual, queer, an ally, a pansexual or a person of any other socio-cultural notion of sex or sexual relationship that is contrary to the socio-cultural notions of male and female or the relationship between male and female, as well as a person who may be questioning that person's sexuality.

Clause 4 prohibits a person from engaging in acts that undermine the proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values provided for in the bill. In particular, individuals must refrain from instigating, commanding, counselling, procuring, soliciting or purposely aiding, facilitating, encouraging or promoting, whether by a personal act or otherwise, either directly or indirectly, any activity which undermines the proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values stipulated in the bill.

"A person who undermines these proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values commits an offence and is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than 2,000 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not less than two months and not more than four months," the memorandum says.

Clauses 6 to 11 deal with LGBTTQQIAAP+ and related activities. Under Clause 6, a person commits an offence if he or she engages in sexual intercourse between or among persons of the same sex, or between a man and an animal, or a woman and an animal.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference has endorsed the anti-LGBTQ1+ bill, saying such a spectrum of sexuality is "morally unacceptable".

The Bishops' Conference said in a statement that the Catholic Church, of which about 13.1prcent of the population are members, is completely against LGBTQI+.

"As a church, we want this abominable practice made illegal in our country", the statement said, adding: "The Bible, which is foundational to Christian beliefs and practices, condemns the practice".

The Catholic Bishops said: "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil, and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder".

"The Church rejects the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and very compulsive and, therefore, they should not be blamed for their homosexual acts."

"Nevertheless, according to the Church's understanding of human rights, the rights of homosexuals as persons do not include the right of a man to marry a man or of a woman to marry a woman.

"For the Church, this is morally wrong and goes against God's purpose for marriage.

"We should also point out that the European Court for Human Rights has ruled that same-sex 'marriages' are not considered a human right, making it clear that homosexual partnerships do not in fact equal marriages between a man and a woman.

"The ruling was announced 9th June 2016 in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France," the bishops said.

In the view of the Catholic bishops, "it is not right to subject homosexuals to any form of harassment simply because they are homosexuals. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. Homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity".

Other church leaders also recently presented a memorandum to parliament in support of the bill.

Dormaahene, Osagyefo Agyemang Badu, Paramount Chief of Dormaa in the Brong Ahafo Region, has also supported the bill and declared his opposition to gay rights.

The Muslim community in Ghana also followed suit.

It is all a response to a recent spirited opposition mounted to the bill by some lawyers, academics and renowned citizens of Ghana.