• The Majority Leader says a declaration on the yet to be considered LGBTQ+ bill is prejudicial
• The Suame MP maintains that his declaration will be interpreted as the position of the House
• A bill criminalizing LGBTQ+ activities is currently before parliament
Leader of Ghana’s Majority in Parliament, Simon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has declined to state his position on the LGBTQ+ Bill pending before the house.
When the parliament of Ghana reconvenes on October 26, 2021, one of the first things it will consider as part of its businesses is a bill that will unequivocally criminalize LGBTQ+ activities if passed.
Ahead of parliament’s anticipated discussion of the bill, the majority leader of the house, in an interview with Okay FM monitored by GhanaWeb, has declined to state his position on the bill which already has the nation divided on lines of support.
“When we talk of parliament the majority leader is the leader of the house. So if I declare a position now, it will be interpreted as the position of parliament, to either mean that the house is in support of the bill or we are against it,” he stated.
Kwame Nkrumah Tikese who is the host of the radio programme, made it known to the Member of Parliament for Suame that a declaration by him can be clarified as a personal one but the majority leader disagreed.
“Such statements could be very prejudicial,” Mr Kyei Mensah retorted.
The 38-page bill before parliament, among other things, stipulates that, people of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are “liable on summary conviction, to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”
The Bill targets persons who “hold out as a lesbian, a gay, a transgender, a transsexual, a queer, a pansexual, an ally, a non-binary or any other sexual or gender identity that is contrary to the binary categories of male and female.”
The Bill also targets promoters and advocates of LGBTQ+ rights including “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill” as well as a person who “promotes, supports sympathy for or a change of public opinion towards an act prohibited under the Bill.”
As part of its provisions, the Bill outlines that a flouter can be sentenced to a jail term of not less than six years or not more than ten years imprisonment.