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Anti-gay bill: Let’s test the law at the Supreme Court – Majority Leader



Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin has said that the custodial sentencing aspect of the anti-lgbtqi bill must be challenged at the Supreme Court.

He is still opposed to the move to incarcerate a person for homosexuality.

Addressing a press conference in Parliament on Monday, March 4, he said ” I believe that the issues that MPs, led by my good self, raised ought to be tested by the Supreme Court of the land. We are a growing democracy, this is not an emotional journey, this is about the law that has to do with the citizens so the text here is whether or not a sexual right, which in itself is being brought to question, should lead to a criminal penalty.

“Also, the issues of advocacy, saying that the media house cannot take certain steps, how do we juxtapose that within the context of the constitution? All these are matters that I believe that if they are tested in our Supreme Court, it is going to help us to bring this matter to a good rest.

“For me,  it is good to legislate against same-sex relationships, it is good to legislate and even criminalize those who will entice underage, young boys who are not of age, adults who will try to engage in pedophilia, those ones, yes because a child below 18 years does not have the necessary means to take a decision, he is not an adult enough per our laws,  so you cannot entice such a person, as for that one we agree but if you say that when somebody is in that situation and the person suffers a jail term I think that there is the problem.  the catholic church came out strongly to make a passionate appeal on that matter. I believe that we will have to test the law on it and see.”

Afenyo-Markin further said that sponsors of the anti-gay bill have not seen the final copy because it is not ready.

He said speaker Alban Bagbin, the clerk of parliament, and he Afenyo-Markin himself have all not seen the final document because the drafting department of Parliament is still working on it after the passage. The process is yet to be completed by Parliament even though the bill has been passed, he said.

“The process is that when the bill is passed in parliament it has to be first compiled by the drafting department of parliament, so you know that the bill went through several amendments, it has to be tidied up and thereafter the clerk will have to authenticate it and after the authentication, the speaker will have to certify. It is when all these are done that the bill is forwarded to the president for his assent.

“As we speak, as the leader of the House, I can say on good authority that we have not completed the process so the public needs to know this so that a certain impression is not created out there that parliament has transmitted the bill to the presidency, nothing has moved to the presidency. In fact, Mr Speaker is yet to receive the authenticated bill, the clerk to parliament himself has not yet seen it, the drafting department is still compiling. I have been chasing it myself and they say it will require some time because a lot of changes were done. As a leader of the House, I don’t have the compiled draft bill so I just wanted to put this thing in proper perspective for our guidance. When all is done I believe that you will be informed.”

He stressed “I want to repeat that the drafting department of parliament is still in the process of compiling  the bill, they are putting together  all the amendments

“The sponsors will have to look at the final draft, as we speak the sponsors have not seen the final draft and it is upon the perusal that the clerk to parliament will be required to then authenticate,” he told journalists in Parliament on Monday, March 4.

His comments come at a time when pressure is being mounted on President Akufo-Addo to sign the bill. Others have also said the president should not assent to it.

For instance, Builsa South Member of Parliament Dr. Clement Apaak said that failure to sign the anti-lgbtqi bill will mean that the president supports gay practices in Ghana.

He says the president must do the needful and assent to the bill.

“If the president fails to do the needful, Ghanaians are going to hold him accountable and the conclusion as far as the good people of Ghana are concerned is going to be simple Akufo-Addo and the NPP, presidential candidate Bawumia are in favor of LGBTQI activities in the republic of Ghana,” he told TV3’s Komla Kluste in an interview in Parliament on Monday March 4 while creating to the statement issued by the Finance Ministry on the financial implication of the bill.

The Ministry of Finance on Monday, March 4 pointed out dreadful implications of the president assenting to the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.

In a brief on the implications of assenting to the Bill by President Akufo-Addo, the Ministry of Finance said the country stands to lose huge financial support from the Bretton Woods institutions.

“In total, Ghana is likely to lose US$3.8 billion in World Bank Financing over the next five to six years. For 2024, Ghana will lose US$600 million budget support and US$250 million for the Financial Stability Fund. This will negatively impact Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore up the country’s reserve position,” part of the brief cited by reads.

The Ministry of Finance provided the details as follows:

  • The expected US$300 million financing from the First Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (Budget Support) which is currently pending Parliamentary approval might not be disbursed by the Bank when it is approved by Parliament;
  • On-going negotiations on the second Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (DPO) for budget support amounting to US$300 million may be suspended; 
  • On-going negotiations for US$250 million to support the Ghana Financial Stability Fund may be suspended; 
  • Disbursement of undisbursed amounts totaling US$2.1 billion for ongoing projects will be suspended; and
  • Preparation of pipeline projects and declaration of effectiveness for two projects totaling US$900million may be suspended.   

The Ministry cautioned that, “The potential loss of these financial resources will create a financing gap in the 2024 budget that the government must address through additional domestic revenue mobilisation and a significant reduction in expenditure.  Failing this, Government’s ability to achieve the targets in the 2024 Budget will be undermined and the IMF-ECF Programme is likely to be derailed.”

Parliament on February 28 passed the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.

“3rd reading of the anti-lgbtq Bill passed by parliament, the bill has been passed,” TV3’s Parliamentary correspondent Komla Klutse reported.

Since then, some stakeholders have expressed disquiet about the passage of the Bill.

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