Ghana’s anti-gay bill: President towait for supreme court ruling

Nana Akufo-Addo

Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo says he will not assent to an anti-gay bill until the supreme court rules on its constitutionality.

Earlier, the finance ministry warned that billions of dollars in World Bank funding could be lost if the bill became law.

Passed by members of parliament last week, the bill imposes a jail term of up to three years for identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) and five years for promoting such activities.

Human rights groups went to court even before the bill was passed by the parliament.

Gay sex is already against the law in Ghana and carries a three-year prison sentence.

The proposed tough new legislation – the proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values bill – was backed by both of Ghana’s main political parties, but cannot become law without the president’s approval.

The bill has been widely condemned by the United Kingdom and the United States – and rights groups have described it as regressive. Akufo-Addo previously said he would sign the bill if the majority of Ghanaians wanted him to do so.

But he is now seeking to assure the diplomatic community that Ghana is committed to upholding human rights.

He acknowledged that the bill had “raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and among some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law. I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned”.

On Monday, the country’s finance ministry said Ghana could lose a total of US$3,8 billion (£3 billion) in World Bank funding over the next five to six years.

Ghana is suffering a major economic crisis and last year received a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

It is unlikely that the supreme court will rule on the case before the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections in December. The elections will see Ghanaians vote for a new president, as Akufo-Addo will be stepping down at the end of his two terms.
– BBC News

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