Home » Ghana’s Opposition Leader Rejects LGBTQ+ Rights Ahead of Elections

Ghana’s Opposition Leader Rejects LGBTQ+ Rights Ahead of Elections

Mahama says gay marriage and being transgender are against his Christian beliefs, but does not say if he would support a bill that would criminalise LGBTQ+ people and activities.

by Motoni Olodun

ACCRA – Ghana’s former president and leading opposition presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama has expressed his opposition to LGBTQ+ rights, sparking criticism from human rights groups and activists.

Mahama, who is seeking to unseat President Nana Akufo-Addo in the December 2024 elections, said gay marriage and being transgender were against his Christian beliefs.

“The faith I have will not allow me to accept a man marrying a man, and a woman marrying a woman,” Mahama said on Wednesday, during a meeting with members of the clergy in eastern Ghana.

“I don’t believe that anybody can get up and say I feel like a man although I was born a woman and so I will change and become a man,” he added.

Mahama, however, did not say whether he would support a bill that would criminalize same-sex relations, being transgender, and advocating LGBTQ rights, should he win the elections.

The bill, which has been debated in parliament since August 2021, has been widely condemned by local and international human rights organizations, as well as some foreign diplomats, as a violation of fundamental freedoms and dignity.

The bill proposes up to five years in prison for identifying as an LGBTQ+ person, having a gay relationship or intercourse, and up to 10 years for promoting or funding LGBTQ+ activities.

It also bans LGBTQ+ people from adopting children, accessing health care, and seeking asylum in Ghana.

The bill has received strong support from religious groups, traditional leaders, and some members of the ruling party, who argue that LGBTQ+ rights are contrary to Ghanaian culture and values.

Ghana is one of 32 African countries that outlaw homosexuality, according to Amnesty International. Gay sex is already punishable with up to three years in jail under a colonial-era law that bans “unnatural carnal knowledge”.

LGBTQ+ people in Ghana face widespread discrimination, harassment, and violence, often encouraged by the media and political and religious leaders.

Reports of young gay people being disowned by their families and communities and evicted from their homes are common. Families often seek conversion therapy from religious groups when same-sex orientation or non-conforming gender identity is disclosed; such “therapy” is reported to be commonly administered in abusive and inhumane settings.

Despite the constitution guaranteeing a right to freedom of speech, expression, and assembly to Ghanaian citizens, these fundamental rights are actively denied to LGBTQ+ people.

Pro-LGBTQ+ activism exists in Ghana, but such efforts are often thwarted by the government and met with hostility and threats from the public.

In January 2021, LGBT+ Rights Ghana, a pro-LGBTQ+ rights organization, opened its office in Accra, the capital city, amid opposition from anti-LGBTQ+ groups. The office was raided and closed by national security in late February 2021 due to pressure from locals, religious institutions, and politicians.

Mahama’s anti-LGBTQ+ stance has disappointed many of his supporters, who hoped he would be more progressive and tolerant than his rival, Akufo-Addo, who has also rejected the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage in Ghana.

Some analysts say Mahama’s comments are aimed at wooing conservative voters, especially in rural areas, where he lost ground to Akufo-Addo in the 2020 elections, which he narrowly lost and contested in court.

However, others say Mahama’s remarks could backfire and alienate some of his urban and young supporters, who are more likely to be sympathetic to LGBTQ+ rights and diversity.

Ghana is widely seen as one of the most stable and democratic countries in Africa, with a vibrant civil society and media. However, the country still faces challenges such as poverty, corruption, unemployment, and inequality.

Many LGBTQ+ activists and allies in Ghana remain hopeful that the country will eventually embrace human rights and dignity for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

They say they will continue to fight for their rights and resist the bill, which they say is a threat to democracy and social cohesion in Ghana.

Source: US News

You may also like

Leave a Comment

white logo with motto small

The Ghana Sentinel is an embodiment of Ghana’s spirit, providing unerring insight into our politics, society, and business.

Editors' Picks

Latest Stories

© 2024 The Ghana Sentinel. All Rights Reserved.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com