The third meeting of the first session of the Eighth Parliament will commence tomorrow, October 26, 2021.
The House adjourned sine die on August 10, 2021.
The House will consider a number of bills that have already been laid in Parliament and referred to various committees for consideration and report.
They include the Promotion of Proper Human Sexuality and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexuality and Ghanaian Family Values Bill is likely to shape proceedings on the floor of the House during the entire meeting.
The Private Member’s bill which was laid on August 3, 2021 seeks to 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 when passed.
So far, both parties on each side of the aisle in Parliament have publicly thrown their weight behind the passage of the bill but agreed on the need for some amendments to be made in the bill to fine tune it ahead of passage.
On Wednesday, October 13, 2021, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, gave an assurance that Parliament would not disappoint Ghanaians in the consideration and passage of the bill that sought to criminalise LGBTQI+ activities in the country.
He said MPs were representatives of the people for which reason the citizenry should rest assured that Parliament would not turn its back on them.
Just two days after the press conference by the Majority, the Minority caucus also held a similar conference on Friday, October 15, 2021 in Parliament, where the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated that his side was resolutely opposed to the introduction, formalisation and legalisation of LGBTQI+ practices and rights in Ghana.
“As representatives of the Ghanaian people, MPs have an obligation to protect the moral fibre of the Ghanaian society and promote the cohesion, unity and preserve Ghana’s time-tested cultural practices and beliefs which have kept us together as one country,” the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said.
External support for and against bill
Beyond the stance taken by both the Majority and the Minority in Parliament, there have been external parties who have also taken a stance for and against the bill.
On Thursday, October 7, this year, a group of high profile Christian leaders, with a common purpose, marched to Parliament House to submit memoranda expressing their unwavering support for the bill.
The leaders included the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, Ghana, the Most Rev. Dr Paul Kwabena Boafo; the President of the Apostolic Church, Ghana, Apostle Dr Aaron Ami-Narh; the National Chairman of the Church of Pentecost, Apostle Eric Nyamekye, and Rev. Abraham Opoku Baffoe of the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG).
Group opposing bill
On October 3, this year, a group of 18 renowned legal practitioners, academics, researchers and civil society professionals expressed their misgivings against the LGBTQI+ bill in a 30-page memorandum to Parliament, and pledged to ensure it was not passed into law.
They described the bill as a flagrant violation of the 1992 Constitution as it sought to curtail freedom of expression and the media, the right to assemble and the right to join any association of one’s choice.