Anti-LGBTQ bill: Political consequences for not signing it will be incalculable – Prof Adei to Akufo-Addo

SourceIsaac Kafui Nyanyovor

Former Rector of the Ghana Institution of Management and Public Administration, Prof Stephen Adei is urging President Akufo-Addo to sign the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill into law.

He expresses optimism that the President will sign the bill, emphasizing potentially significant consequences for both himself and his party if he fails to do so.

Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show, Prof Addai stated that, as a politician, President Akufo-Addo will carefully consider the political implications of his decision.

“I think Akufo-Addo has a dilemma… Parliament has passed it on to him. Now we are waiting for what he will do. I think he would sign it (the bill) because the consequences of not signing it for himself and his party would be incalculable, and politicians would always calculate the political consequences, and I think he would sign it,” he said on Thursday, February 29.

After nearly three years of deliberation, Parliament passed the highly contentious anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

The bill, which had been introduced in the House years ago, was unanimously approved on Wednesday, February 28, following the completion of the third reading. Proposed amendments to the bill were rejected by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, during the session.

The bill was then slated to be forwarded to President Akufo-Addo for his assent.

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, had withdrawn several proposed amendments to the bill on February 21.

However, during Wednesday’s parliamentary session, Afenyo-Markin reiterated his stance on the bill, expressing opposition to certain provisions. He argued against measures that could prevent individuals or groups from providing support to vulnerable members of society.

Afenyo-Markin emphasized the importance of aligning the bill with constitutional imperatives, stating, “You cannot—let’s not be too emotional about this; let’s be consistent.” He further highlighted the need to uphold human rights within the legislation.

However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Akatsi South constituency, Bernard Ahiafor, opposed the amendments raised by the Majority Leader.

According to him, the amendments proposed by Mr. Afenyo-Markin were prohibiting funding, promoting, and facilitating the activities of LGBTQ people, which the bill sought to proscribe.

Mr. Ahiafor stated, “Mr. Speaker, we’re not discriminating; we’re proscribing using your money to fund and promote activities that will become illegal after the passage of this particular law. So, I don’t agree with him subjecting it to the provisions of the constitution.”

Contrarily, the New Patriotic Party MP for Adansi-Asokwa constituency, Kobina Tahir (K.T.) Hammond emphasized that Parliament must be careful not to offend against the tenets of the constitution.

He pointed out that the majority leader understood the importance of the LGBTQ documents and had come up with a proposed amendment to the bill. “The Majority Leader is saying that if it is accepted that the 10 and the 11 should be read in subject to the constitution, what is the difficulty in subjecting the 12? I find it very difficult to comprehend what they are talking about.”

In response to these arguments, the Speaker of Parliament proposed deferring further consideration of the bill, citing Parliament’s provision, Order 172(4), which states that a motion for the third reading shall not be made on the same day as the second reading.

The passage of the bill was not without controversy. According to Joy News Parliamentary Correspondent Kwaku Asante, the session witnessed unexpected drama.

Typically, after the consideration stage, the House must wait a day before moving on to the third reading. However, following another round of amendments proposed by Sam George and others, Muntaka Mubarak, MP for Asawase, moved a motion to suspend this rule. Despite opposition from Majority Leader Afenyo-Markin, the motion to suspend the rules was carried, allowing the House to proceed to the Third Reading. The Speaker declined Afenyo-Markin’s request to propose further amendments to the bill.

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