It has emerged there were originally seven NPP Members of Parliament who were backing the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021 Bill. Six of the seven however fell off allegedly because they were warned off it by President Akufo Addo.
They left only the NPP MP for Assin South, John Ntim Fordjour to push the bill that will criminalise homosexual activities in Ghana.
Minority Chief whip, Muntaka Mubarak, whose side, the NDC, has 7 of its MPs, including bill sponsor, Ningo Prampram MP, Sam George, backing the Bill, confirms this.
“My information is that the NPP MPs, about six of them were warned not to co-sponsor the bill because all along, we were working together, but when it was time for the signing, only Rev. Ntim Forjour was available,2 said Muntaka.
“When we enquired, it was clear some higher authority forced them to abandon it but this is one bill we all must bury our differences and pass it. So we in the Minority will sit with the Majority and explore ways to resolve this matter.”
President Akufo-Addo is also viewed by many as the one responsible for the courage that the LGBTQI+ community in Ghana has suddenly mustered to fight for rights.
Mr. Akufo-Addo’s 2017 interview with Al Jazeera in which he said that legalizing gay rights in Ghana was just a matter of time and that homosexuals and lesbians were not pushing activism enough for their rights, is seen as the main momentum giver.
Akufo-Addo’s statements annoyed Ghanaians and soon he beat a retreat with tail in between legs, vowing that he will never legalize gay rights in Ghana.
But the President’s words and actions have not correlated thenceforth, virtually hiding away and tip toeing around the gay rights debate sparked by the anti-LGBTQI+ Bill while his personal lawyer is leading a cohort of powerful intellectuals in a campaign to have the Bill scraped.
For the MPs pushing the Bill, the consequences are already challenging including targeting by Western countries.
For instance, Alhassan Suhiyini, MP for Tamale North has been denied a visa by the Netherlands Embassy. Suhiyini explains that the Embassy actually insulted him with the claim that they fear that if he travels to their country the MP may not return to Ghana.
“For the Netherlands to ignore my status as an MP with the responsibility to an entire constituency, which was known to them…my valid travel visas to the UK and USA and my numerous previous travel records, which indicate I have never overstayed any visit abroad…my beautiful family, and deny me an entry visa on the basis that, there was insufficient evidence…that I have significant social or economic ties to my country to prompt my return after my intended visit, could only have been deliberately taken to provoke me and also undermine Ghanaian state officials and diplomats,” he said.
Another MP’s daughters were denied visa to another country, according to reports.
Meanwhile, the Minority has said that it will investigate the denials to establish if indeed it is in response to the anti-gay Bill.
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak said if it turns out that that is the case then the Ghanaian Parliament will also reply in kind.
“The leadership of the Minority is auditing our members, especially those who have been denied visas to establish whether or not it had anything to do with their stance on the anti-LGBTQ+ bill before Parliament. If it comes out that they were denied visas because of the bill, then we as Minority will start a crusade against such Embassies and their interests in Ghana,” Muntaka stated.