Afari-Gyan, Dormaahene kick against LGBTQI+

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
 Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu — Dormaahene and Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan — Former Chairman of the Electoral Commission
Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu — Dormaahene and Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan — Former Chairman of the Electoral Commission

Two more prominent Ghanaians have joined the debate on homosexuality, describing it as a practice that cannot be justified on the grounds of human rights.

The two —a former Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, and the Dormaahene, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu II, who is also a Justice of the High Court — said it was preposterous for anyone to hide behind the impotent argument of human rights to advocate the acceptance or tolerance of same-sex marriage.

A private member’s bill: ‘The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021’, which criminalises Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) activities in the country, was introduced in Parliament on August 3 and is currently being handled by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

After the consideration of the bill, the committee will submit a report to the House for full debate.

However, the period before the debate has witnessed public pronouncements, both for and against the bill.

No justification

In a statement to the Daily Graphic last Saturday, Dr Afari-Gyan said: “I don’t think same-sex marriage can be justified on grounds of human rights.”

In a similar vein, the Dormaahene said he had heard some academics and lawyers arguing that the issue was about human rights.

But he tended to differ, saying: “I am a judge, but if there is something that will destroy our culture and society, I’ll not support it; and I don’t think as a country we should tolerate it.”

Speaking with the Daily Graphic last Saturday about the contents of a viral video in which he was seen strongly pouring out his abhorrence for same-sex marriage, the Dormaahene said: “Yes,
I joined the chiefs and the people of Subrikrom in my traditional area for communal work, and I found it necessary to speak on the matter of same-sex marriage, which is un-Ghanaian, evil and against our culture.”

Constitutional provisions

Making reference to the Constitution, Dr Afari-Gyan said he was not oblivious of the fact that it enjoined everyone to respect and protect everybody’s rights and freedoms, including personal liberty, saying “that is, the freedom to make one’s own choices, exercise personal initiative and develop oneself”.

“I am also aware that some of the factors we consider to be human rights today, such as the right to education, good drinking water and shelter, and the rights of women, workers and children, were not considered to be so in times past,” the statement said.

In the view of the former EC boss, it would be correct to say that the ambit and content of human rights had been expanding.

“However, if we look critically at the factors that have become part of the body of human rights, it is clear that their essence is the improvement of the human condition and the protection and perpetuation of the human race.

“So to say that something is a human right is to say that it is good for every human being to have it because it improves the quality and dignity of the human species,” it said.

Examination

Against that backdrop, the former EC Chairman called for an examination of any attempt to justify anything as a human right.

In his opinion, there was the need for a simple test to establish whether something was worthy of consideration as a human right, adding that such a test must focus on possibilities and implications.

“Let us apply this test to same-sex marriages in two scenarios. First, an only son decides to marry a man and an only daughter decides to marry a woman: the eventual possibility is the extinction of the family.

“Second, there comes a time when every man decides to marry another man and every woman decides to marry another woman: the eventual possibility is the extinction of the human race,” Dr Afari-Gyan said in his statement.

For him, any sexual practice that carried with it the remotest eventual possibility of the extinction of a family or the human race could not be said to be a human right.

“Rather, in the context of our Constitution, same-sex marriage may be considered a moral hazard of a kind from which the state has an obligation to protect its citizens, particularly children, from being exposed to,” it said.

Dormaahene on academics

Further explaining his position, the Dormaahene said it was a matter of concern that some highly educated people were up against the bill.

Describing the bill as one of the best things to happen to the country, he said it was important that all Ghanaians backed its passage.

Storming Parliament

Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyemang Badu said he would critically follow developments in Parliament, and hinted that on the day that a final decision would be taken on the bill, he would send a large number of his people to Parliament to observe the outcome.

He said it would be wrong for anyone to conclude that it was Sam George and a few people who were fighting the LGBTQ+ issue, adding that chiefs, religious leaders and the greater majority of Ghanaians were solidly behind the fight.

Using aid/loans

He told Western countries that they could not use the threat of cutting aid and loans to compel the country to accept same-sex marriage.

“We have taken loans over the years but the loans have not done us any good,” he said.

The Dormaahene said the culture of the West was different from that of the country, adding that no one could force Ghanaians to accept any foreign culture.

Sam George praised

Meanwhile, Mr Sam George, Ningo-Prampram MP, in an interview on the anti-LGBTQI+ bill with Kenyan-born CNN journalist, Larry Madowo, stoutly defended the bill as he handled questions posed to him satisfactorily.

Over the weekend, the social media space in the country was occupied with praises for Mr George for the manner in which he defended the bill and argued strongly for the bill, which is sponsored by some MPs.

In the interview, Mr George showed he was well-versed in the subject mater as Mr Larry Madowo tried to pin him down.

Later, a tweet by the CNN reporter on the interview was met with fierce reactions, many accusing him of bias, while Mr George was hailed for his deep knowledge and frankness.