The Speaker of Parliament, Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has served notice that the third meeting of the First session of the Eighth Parliament will commence on October 26, 2021.
A statement signed by Mr Bagbin and issued in Accra on October 10, 2021 said the meeting was in pursuance of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The notice requires the 275 members of the House to meet for it to commence business at exactly 10 a.m. on that day
One of the major issues that will come up strongly on the floor of the House will be the consideration of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021.
The bill, which was laid on August 3, 2021, will criminalise the activities of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI), as well as individuals and organisations that advocate or promote the act in the country.
The 36-page Private Member’s Bill is to provide for proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values, proscribe LGBTQ+ and related activities, propaganda of, advocacy for or promotion of LGBTTQQIAAP+ and related activities.
It will prohibit a person from providing or participating in any form of surgical services to enable gender reassignment or create a sexual category other than the category of a person assigned at birth, except where the surgical procedure is to correct a biological anomaly, including intersex.
Those who contravene or undermine the provision are liable, on summary conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.
Moreover, the bill proscribes the promotion and advocacy activities directed at children. Thus, any person who uses the media and other electronic channels to produce, procure, market, broadcast, publish or distribute materials or information directly or indirectly directed at children with intent to evoke the interest of children in an activity could face a jail term of not less than six years and not more than 10 years.
Besides, it seeks to provide accused persons access to medical help or treatment and prohibit extra-judicial or inhumane treatment of persons accused of offences under the bill.
The bill was initiated by eight Members of Parliament (MPs), seven of whom are from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), with one being a New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislator.
The NDC MPs are for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Samuel Nartey George; Kpando, Mrs Dela Adjoa Sowah; Ho West, Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah; Tamale North, Mr Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini; Krachi West, Mrs Helen
Adjoa Ntoso; La Dadekotopon, Mrs Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, and South Dayi, Mr Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, while the NPP MP is for Assin South, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour.
They said it was their ardent belief that the passage of the bill to deal with LGBTTQQIAAP+ was apt, considering the 2017 report of the Science Research Council, communicated at the fourth National HIV and AIDS Research Conference in Accra, which showed that about 18.1 per cent of people living with AIDS were gay.
On the issue of advocacy and other promotional activities, they said there was currently no legislation that specifically criminalised advocacy for, funding, promotion or encouragement of LGBTTQQIAAP+ activities, except the inchoate provisions in Act 29, namely, preparation for committing certain criminal offences, abetment of a criminal offence and conspiracy.
Already, the Parliamentary Select Committee, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, has announced to the public a number of bills that have been laid in Parliament and referred to the committee for consideration and report.
They are the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Office of Special Prosecutor (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The committee has, therefore, requested for written memoranda in respect of the bills.
“The memoranda must reach the committee not later than Thursday, September 30, 2021, through the postal or email address to the Clerk to the Committee, Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Office of Parliament,” it said.