March 5, 2024

Majority Leader Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin has pointed out that the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill passed by parliament is yet to be forwarded to the presidency for assent as it is yet to be authenticated by the clerk of Parliament and Speaker before it is transmitted to the President Nana Akufo-Addo for his assent.

According to him the process leading to it being forwarded to the President is not completed yet and believes Ghanaians should be made aware of this, “nothing has moved from the Parliament to the presidency yet”.

Again, “Mr. Speaker is yet to receive the authenticated Bill, the clerk himself has not yet seen it, the drafting department is still compiling, I have been going after it but they say it requires sometime a lot of changes were done I do not have the draft compiled bill. They are putting together all the amendments seeing to it that the I is doted and commas are there and the legal language is properly put together for us to know the state of the bill”.

He further pointed out at a media briefing that, the sponsors have to look at the final draft, adding that the sponsors have not seen the final draft. “It is upon the perusal of this that the clerk to parliament would be then required to authenticate it”.

He also supports that the Bill could be tested at the Supreme Court, stating that “we are a growing democracy; this is not an emotional journey this is a law that have to do with the right of citizens, the test thing is whether or not a sexual right in itself being brought to question should lead to a criminal penalty”, he said.

As a nation if we say our value system do not support man to man relation, woman to woman, are we also saying the means to reform those people with that orientation is to imprison them. “How does this position stand in accordance with our constitution?”

Also the issue of advocacy; are we saying media houses cannot take certain steps; how do we put that in the contest of the constitution? All these are issues when if they are tested in our courts would help us bring this matter to a good rest, he added.

“For me, I will like to say it is good to legislate against same sex and criminalize those who would entice under age children below 18 does not have the necessary maturity to take a decision, they are not adult enough”.

For people to surfer jail term, I think there is a problem and the Catholic Church came up strongly to make an appeal on that matter. We would have to test the law on that and see. As a country, tolerance is part of our value system; we should find a middle ground either way conservative way is not the way to go to transform a society, he emphasized.

More over our judiciary has a new sentencing system in place, it talks about non- custodian sentencing system as a form of reform and correction; we know the conditions in our prisons do not help in achieving that objective of transforming, correcting and reforming.

So, we should proceed with some caution and again urge a strong view in testing the law at the Supreme Court and we know where we are moving to as state.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/