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Anti-Gay bill: Sodomy takes its root from prison – Afenyo-Markin still against custodial sentencing



Majority Leader in Parliament Alexader Afenyo-Markin has insisted the custodial sentencing regime in the anti-gay bill is draconian.

To him, throwing persons into jail for homosexuality will not cure the problem.

Speaking in an interview with Berla Mundi on the New Day show on TV3 on Thursday, February 29, the Effiutu lawmaker said “I am not here being an advocate for LGBTQ, I am looking at how we can reintegrate, how we can deal with the issue in a way that it will not get worse.

“Sodomy takes its root from the prison, people get sodomized in our prison and in our cells. I am a practitioner of the law, I have done criminal cases for many years and sometimes when your clients are being sent to cells the police themselves will tell you to make sure that he is not taken to Accra central, you ask why and they tell you that this thing is done there.

“How does conviction and incarceration solve the problem? For me, on balance, since it is a behavioral challenge, engage some clinical psychologists on it. I engaged them prior to my views publicly and three of them I engaged, they told me clearly that when dealing with issues of behavioral addictions you don’t play the hard ball to get solutions, do you incarcerate a drug addict? You create a space for rehabilitation, that rehabilitation will require some therapy or some procedure to get the person out of that behaviour, you don’t put the person in a situation where that behaviour will be reinforced.

“So you say the person is gay, or lesbian and you throw the person in jail, will you get the result that you want? I beg to differ.”

Ghana’s Parliament on Wednesday, February 28 passed the anti-LGBTQI bill after successfully going through all three reading stages.

The third reading of the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was done on Wednesday, February 28.

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

One of the sponsors of the bill, Ningo-Prampram Lawmaker Samuel Nartey George told journalists after the passage that “We want to thank Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who was very instrumental in passing this bill.”

“The house has stood united, an overwhelming majority of both sides of the house have supported this bill,” he added.

Prior to the passage, a human rights coalition, comprising of CDD Ghana, “the big 18” and others had called on President Akufo-Addo not to assent to the bill in its current state.

Prof Audrey Gadzekpo who is part of the group, at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, February, 27, 2024 noted that the Bill will infringe on the fundamental human rights of many including the media as enshrined by the 1992 Constitution.

Professor Gadzekpo said “We observed that proposals to amend the Bill to substitute community services for in castration that was made by the Member of Parliament for Effutu, Mr. Afenyo-Markin was unfortunately rejected. Although his amendments were opposed by the majority of the house leading to a removal of the proposed amendments, we appreciate his effort aimed at reforming our justice system.”

On Wednesday, February 21, the then Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin withdrew his amendments to the anti-LGBTIQ+ bill which seeks to impose a prison sentence paving way for the Bill to be considered for passage in the coming days.

However, the coalition of civil society organizations and interest groups maintained, the Bill must be relooked at.

“Ghana is a secular and multi-religious country with over 50 ethnic groups with different cultural practices and beliefs. Any attempt to create a single cultural value system for Ghana erases the beautiful cultural mosaic that makes us a unique people.” Professor Gadzekpo posited.

She further explained that “It is for this reason that the constitution abolishes all practices and laws detrimental to people’s health and well-being, even in the name of culture and tradition.”

The coalition noted that, the Bill would undermine the journalists’ ability to speak freely. The Bill in its current form states, “any person that uses the media to broadcast and slash or advocate on LGBTQ+ topic faces a prison sentence of up to three years.”

The group believed that “this places a heavy restriction on journalists, bloggers, influencers and various social media users who produce or publish content, especially those who work in the field of human rights.”

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