Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Albert Sumana Kingsford Bagbin is unfazed by ‘pressures’ and comments from the Western world on the need to grant LGBTQ+ people their right to practice and promote their supposed sexual orientation.
Mr. Bagbin has reiterated his distaste for the practice and maintained it is not a deed Ghana will be proud to promote.
The Speaker says the customs and conventions which form the bedrock of Ghana’s constitution abhors such disdainful acts and he as a Speaker will not superintend a Legislature that will pass a law to allow such practice in Ghana.
Speaking at a meeting with the British House of Lords and Commons in the United Kingdom where the LGBTQ+ matter became topical, the Speaker Bagbin unlike President Akufo-Addo who wasn’t emphatic when US Vice President Kamala Harris visited said Ghana’s constitution will guide the Legislature on what to do.
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“There is nothing untoward; nothing wrong with the efforts by Ghana’s Parliament to legislate on the promotion of human sexual rights and family values in Ghana, using our constitution as a compass,” he told the House of Lords.
Berating threats from donor countries and other powerful global institutions to countries that enact legislations which frown on LGBTQ matters, Mr. Bagbin said threats and boycotts wouldn’t ameliorate any challenge.
“Threats are not the way to go. If your neighbour or partner has a problem, you help him to solve it. Boycotts and threats do not solve problems: engagement and understanding do,” he added.
The Speaker further indicated “there is urgent need of legislation in the area of LGBTTQR± in Ghana. Parliament is aware of the copious human rights provisions in the Constitution of the country. Parliament knows that “any legislation that detracts from the human rights and freedoms guaranteed by our constitution will be a candidate for litigation in our court of law”.
Responding to a question on the role of the President in the bill under reference, the Speaker insisted that Ghana’s Parliament has the mandate and the capability to legislate on the subject, and will not countenance any interference from the executive. He explained that the role of the President is to accent to bills submitted to him by Parliament. In the process, the President can make recommendations for the consideration of Parliament. However, final legislative powers rest with the legislature, not the executive. “Ghana’s democracy is based on the rule of law, not the rule of man”, he pointed out.
Besides, he said, Ghana’s constitution is heavy on the promotion and protection of various fundamental human rights and freedoms, and gave an assurance that curtailing human rights is not the target of the bill under reference; rather, it is about the protection of rights as well as values; so is it about the healthcare and welfare of Ghanaians, particularly those whose sexual orientation has implications for their health.
According to the Speaker, the legislature has engaged in very wide and broad consultations whilst working on the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill. Members of the select committee working on it have held consultations in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, EU and Canada, among others for a deeper appreciation of the issues at stake.
In addition, the committee has received and considered about 400 memoranda on the issue and has granted audience to many advocacy groups, professional associations, traditional leaders, civil society groups, and religious leaders. He said the approach to this bill has been to “think global and act local”.
Those with Rt. Hon. Bagbin at the meeting include the Clerk to Parliament, Mr. Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, the Assistant Clerk, Mr. Ebenezer Djietror, Legal Counsel to the Speaker, Hon. Magnus Kofi Amoatey, the Director of Communication, Mr. Gayheart Mensah and the Deputy Director of Parliamentary Relations, Mr. Charles Dery Tenzagh.
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