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Homosexuality stance: Akufo-Addo was ‘absolutely, legally right’ – Gabby

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Lawyer and former Executive Director of Danquah Institute, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko has mounted a strong defense for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following the latter’s statement that decriminalizing homosexuality is not something his government is considering but “bound to happen”.

The President in an interview with Qatar-based Al Jazeera noted that if activism in favour of the legalization of homosexuality heightens, that could trigger a change in Ghana’s laws.

“I don’t believe that in Ghana, so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion that will say: ‘Change it [the law], let’s then have a new paradigm in Ghana’”.

“I grew up in England; I went to school as a young boy in England and I grew up at a time in England when homosexuality was banned there, it was illegal and I lived in the period when British politicians thought it was anathema to think about changing the law and suddenly the activities of individuals, of groups, a certain awareness, a certain development grew and grew and grew stronger and it forced a change in law. I believe those are the same processes that will bring about changes in our situation.”

“At the moment, I don’t feel and I don’t see that in Ghana, there is that strong current of opinion that will say: ‘This is something that we need even deal with’. It’s not, so far, a matter which is on the agenda.” He said in response to why Ghana’s laws still criminalise homosexuality and what will provoke its legalization.

While some argue that Akufo-Addo’s response is not only president-like but pragmatic and well-informed, others have vehemently scolded him for ‘failing’ to take a firm stance as done by the late President John Atta Mills who in 2011 rubbished the UK’s threat to cut aid if he refused to consider legalizing homosexuality in Ghana.

Contributing to the debate in a Facebook post, Gabby posited that Akufo-Addo’s response was apt.

“The President is absolutely, legally right. Homosexuality is NOT a crime in Ghana. That does not necessarily mean that it is legal. What is a crime, per the law, is unnatural carnal knowledge – and that law was taken straight from the criminal code of England & Wales. Now, lawyers can argue over what is unnatural carnal knowledge to expand and narrow case law. Strictly speaking, having “unnatural carnal knowledge” with even your spouse (lawfully married) of the opposite sex may be construed as an offense! Now, you couples of ‘perverse’ proclivities do take a moment to think about that!”

“The President was also right to say that our society doesn’t seem yet ready for legalizing gay marriages. What we must all protect against is the culture of hate against any man or woman for their sexual orientation. You do not have to be pro-gay to respect your neighbour’s right to choose the one he or she wants to love.

Most Africans frown at the thought of legalizing homosexuality as it defies every aspect of their socio-cultural and religious principles.

Homosexuality is illegal in about 30 African countries and has laws that reprimand individuals caught in the act.

In Ghana, there have been several advocates pushing for its ban while some others have argued for it to be legalized.

In July this year, Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, during a courtesy call on him by Amnesty International took a strong stance as he stated that leaders in countries like Ghana would not countenance the aggressive push by external forces to accept acts such as homosexuality, bestiality among others.

“Honestly, in view of these developments, we Africans are also concerned about certain things that may appear really intellectual. The right to practice homosexuality and right for a human being to sleep with an animal is becoming a human right in some countries. We are tired of some of these things and we must be frank about it. I think all these matters need to be seriously interrogated,” he noted.

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