Ghana: Parliament and Presidency Clash Over Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill


The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo (Photo: Graham Carlow)

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, has urged Parliament to halt its attempts to send him the oppressive Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill for his signature amidst legal challenges.

In a letter on Monday addressed to Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, the Clerk of Parliament, Nana Bediatuo Asante, Secretary to the President, noted that on 14 March, Nsiah attempted to submit the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill) to the President for his assent.

Asante pointed out that two applications had been filed in the Supreme Court on 7 March to restrain Nsiah and Parliament from transmitting the bill to the President and to restrain the President from signing the bill, pending a final determination by the court on the constitutionality of the bill.

He further stated that the Attorney-General had advised the President not to take any step in relation to the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, which was passed by Parliament on 28 February, until the suits are determined by the Supreme Court.

“It is the understanding of this office that both applications have also been duly served on Parliament,” said Asante. “Therefore, it would be improper for you to transmit the bill to the President and equally improper for this office to receive the bill until the Supreme Court determines the matters raised in the suits.”

He requested the Clerk of Parliament “to cease and desist from transmitting the bill to the President until the matters before the Supreme Court are resolved.”

In response, MP Haruna Iddrisu told journalists that the Office of the President’s stance was “a monumental threat to Ghana’s democracy and a monumental threat to Parliament as an institution.”

He accused President Akufo-Addo of seeking to assert “predominance over other organs of state” and insisted that the President was still required to respond to the bill within seven days of its 14 March submission or be “responsible for constitutional breach”.

If signed into law, the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill will jail people for up to three years for engaging in same-sex intimacy, or for providing or undergoing gender affirmation surgery, or simply for identifying as lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, non-binary, or as an ally.

Anyone found guilty of promoting and advocating LGBTQ+ “activities” in any medium faces up to 10 years in prison, while landlords can be jailed for up to six years if they rent their premises to an LGBTQ+ person.

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