I have yet to see the statement but this report indicates that Ghana’s President John Atta Mills has broken his silence on his policy toward decriminalization of homosexuality.
Ghana’s President has not spoken but a recent appointee seems to have taken on the role of government spokesperson. Lauretta Lamptey, a recent appointment to the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice clarified the position of her office on Tuesday.
In short, the government is leaving it up to Parliament to either decriminalize homosexuality, to make the penalties stronger or leave things as they are. Lamptey says that being homosexual is not a crime but some kinds of homosexual behavior might be.
I posted on this at Religion Dispatches – the rest is over there…
Paul Canning has more on GLB efforts to response to the recent anti-gay rhetoric.
Two Saturdays ago, I interviewed Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr by phone about the recent upsurge of anti-gay rhetoric in Ghana. Dr. Okoampa-Ahoofe is a Ghanaian who now lives in the US and is a college professor at Nassau Community College. I intend to incorporate his input in future articles on Ghana. For now, I am just going to refer to a column he wrote for Myjoyonline about our interview. He included just about everything we discussed so it is a pretty efficient way to get across his views.
In short, he is concerned about the level of anti-gay sentiment in Ghana and hopes the country does not move toward a Ugandan approach. Please note, this is a Ghanaian observing Ghana and making this comparison.
Yesterday, I posted a piece at Religion Dispatches about the response of Ghana’s government to my inquiries about the recent calls for arrests of gays. Here is the lead:
In the face of reports that Ghana’s Western Region Minister recently called for the arrest of gays, a Ghanaian government source told RD today that the government was not “clamping down” on sexual minorities. The source, who did not want to be named since he was not speaking officially, said that Ghana is a law abiding country and that those on a crusade should take up the matter in the courts.
The issue appears to be a sensitive one for the government. The Ministry of Information and the Office of the President declined to speak to me and one staffer simply hung up when asked if the government supported recent calls to arrest gays.
Go read the rest over at RD.
UPDATE (7/28/11) – Reached the President’s office today and the spokeswoman there said she was not authorized to talk about the President’s position on the call for arrests of gays in Ghana. The Communications Director who she thought might comment was out until Monday.
Yesterday, I reported on the worsening situation in Ghana for human rights for GLB people. Today, a government minister ordered the arrest of all gay people in his region.
The Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo has ordered the immediate arrest of all homosexuals in the region.
He has tasked the Bureau of National Investigations and all security agencies to smoke out persons suspected to be engaging in same sex.
He also enlisted the services of landlords and tenants to provide reliable information which will lead to the arrest of homosexuals.
His directive follows months of campaigns against the practice of homosexuality in the country.
Only yesterday, the Christian Council of Ghana capped months of protestations against the practice of homosexuality with a strongly worded message against the practice and courting Ghanaians not to vote for any politician who believes in the rights of homosexuals.
UPDATE: In a sign that there are forces of reason in Ghana’s leadership, the President said he was misquoted when a news source said he intended to crack down on gays legally. It is not clear what he will do about this call for unlawful arrests.
Judging from this June, 2011 report, a safe prediction is that Ghana’s Parliament might soon follow the lead of Uganda in some manner. I have been observing a steady stream of articles from religious and political leaders calling for tougher restrictions on homosexuality. Click the link above to read some, and then consider this recent one calling on Christians to vote against any politician who proposes any law favorable to homosexuality. Also, listen to the interview on the page. One minister, a Dr. Marti, said that one reason that the British Empire fell was because of homosexuality. That minister called for clearer laws against homosexuality so that Ghana would lead the world against homosexuality. Apparently, the issue might become a campaign issue in the upcoming elections.
The situation does not seem to be as severe there as in Uganda, however, this politician warned last month that mob violence may occur. And this one openly called for interfering with rights of association for gays. Today, a Ghanaian leader called for new legislation.
Much of the rhetoric sounds like Uganda circa 2009.
More today (7/19/11) – Rev. Gideon Titi-Ofei & UK evangelist, Nana Owusu condemn homosexuality.