The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, has said that the Minority will insist on a clause-by-clause vote on the anti-gay bill which is currently before the House.
Addressing a press conference in Accra on Friday October 15, he said, there is need to ensure that this bill reflects the will and aspirations of the people.
“I have heard arguments that say that where does the Speaker stands , Let me remind ladies and gentlemen of the press that the Speaker of Parliament and every other speaker of parliament, past or present, are citizens of Ghana first and leaders of the country and have the right to espouse it principles and values on any matter of national interest or concerns.
“They are expected to provide nothing more than leadership. We in the minority will insist a clause by clause vote on every word, every accompanying sentence. We will insist on a vote including amendment of any provision. We will do it legally needful within the 1992 constitution clause by cause and we will want every Member of Parliament, I am not reoffering just to one side, to get counted and to stand to be counted as reflecting the aspirations of Ghanaians,” the Tamale South Member of Parliament said.
The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill was laid in the House on Monday, August 2 and read for the first time.
Reading for the first time, a clerk in the legislative assembly stated that the Bill proscribes LGBTQI and other related activities and propaganda or advocacy and promotion for same.
It also came to light that it supports protection for children and persons who are victims or accused of homosexuality.
Second Deputy Speaker Andrew Asiamah Amoako referred the Bill to the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Committee for consideration.
“For the first time, it is referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report,” Mr Asiamah Amoako, who is also the MP for Fomena, directed.
The controversial bill has already divided opinion in the Ghanaian public discourse.
While some, particularly the religious and traditional groupings, have supported the Bill and hopeful of its passing, others say it could incur the wrath of the international community against Ghana.
Private legal practitioner and one of the influential persons who are against the bill, Mr Akoto Ampaw had said proponents of the bill are adopting old tricks by making baseless accusations against persons who have raised concerns against it.
He said claims that those against the bill are receiving funding from external donors are unfounded.
He further indicated that one of the proponents of the bill, Ningo Prampram Lawmaker, Samuel Nartey George cannot lecture him on human rights activism as far as the rights of homosexuals are concerned.
Mr Akoto Ampaw said he has been a human right activist for years hence, Sam George cannot talk to him about rights and freedoms.
“Anybody who knows me and most of the people who are behind this press conference will know that we have been fighting for human rights and freedoms of our citizens for years and we have paid a price for it so I will not have the likes of Sam George trying to talk to me about human rights and national independence and so on.
“But we have a clear evidence of their group organizing in November, October last year an African congress with the World Congress of families, which is not a Ghanaian organization so he and his people should be last people talking about foreign influence. They will take refuge in the fact that we are being influenced foreign forces, we know this trick, they are busy collecting funds from these same foreign people and governments so what are they talking about.”
Sam George had criticised the anti-bill group including Akoto Ampaw and Prof Kwame Karikari over their position on the bill.
He described them as hypocrites following their submission.
Sam George said if he is asked to score Professor Karikari on his submission, he would give him an F.
Prof Karikari had said the bill which Sam George and some of his colleague legislators are promoting is dangerous because it seeks to promote hate for homosexuals in the country.
In the view of Prof Karikari, gays and lesbians are human beings and deserve to be respected and protected as any other person.
To that end, he said, any law that seeks to create problems for this group should be rejected.
He said this while speaking on the First Take with Dzifa Bampoh on 3FM on Monday October 4.
He said he and a few of his colleagues who are fighting for the rights of homosexuals to be respected in Ghana are going to hold a public forum to debate this subject.
“Hopefully, the media may also want to pick up the debate, debate them so that the public will instantly get to know the views that we hold and the views that the proponents of what we considered to be a dangerous bill also hold.
“We think we live in a democracy and we must be grateful to God that we live in a democracy so that whatever parliament, the executive or any branch of government does will be openly discussed and people can therefore take their decisions and then the lawmakers and the executives can also take some wisdom from the public debate.
“We know that most societies have prejudice against homosexuality, lesbianism and these other social practices. We are not at all surprised that the overwhelming majority have prejudiced or even hate these small minority of people in society. We have no problem with that. What we are saying is this.
“This law is setting up the minority up. Our constitution does not discriminate about humans beings unless the proponents of this bill, unless the 95 per cent who say they don’t like homosexuality, we want them to say that homosexuals, lesbians are not human beings. Are they human beings also are they not human beings?
“If they are human beings and they are human beings then we think that they are protected by the constitution so any law that is made to arouse, promote engineer and mobilize hate against that minority is against the rights of those minority people and should not be passed.”
Speaking on the same programme, Sam George said “He has made so many sweeping comments and I expected that he would have been held to strict proof. His argument is hollow and if I was marking this as a script he will score an F.
“This is someone who says the constitution protects people, you [Dzifa Bampoh] read to him a section of the bill which provides protection for persons who identify as LGBTQ from extra judicial treatment and he tells you it is a hoax.
“This is the same person asking us to provide proof of the health challenges, the public risk that the LGBTQ community proposes and he is telling you that our bill is a hoax without any proof.
“Today 4th October, the head of the Ghana AIDS Commission, speaking to another media house in Accra decried the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Ghana and the fact that HIV prevalence in Ghana is rising. In that interview, he was asked specifically which demographic is pushing this number up, he said men having sex with men. That is the empirical evidence. Now can you ask Prof Kwame Karikari and his cohorts what empirical evidence they have to say that say part of our bill is a hoax? Has he educated himself and has he read the bill or he is basically just running riot in town on the basis of their misconception?”
By Laud Nartey||3news.com|Ghana