The director general of the Ghana Aids Commission says the bill if passed in its current state will not help in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the gay community.
The director general of the Ghana Aids Commission, Kyeremeh Atuahene, wants the draft anti-gay bill before Parliament to be reviewed thoroughly before passage into law.
Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show, Atuahene said the bill if passed in its current state will not help in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the gay community.
“We have worked with them (LGBTQI) since 2014. We have never promoted any of their activities or done anything to suggest any of the things that the draft bill seeks to prescribe.
“But the challenge is that the long arm of this bill and the widespread tentacles, first it will drive them underground and when it drives them underground it means they will not access the services and that is a major concern for us,” the Ghana Aids Commission boss said.
He added: “Second is how the law will be interpreted and it is not only the health service we are providing that will be affected by this, it will be affected by other state agencies as well like CHRAJ, even Parliament itself.”
Atuahene is therefore appealing to Parliament to critically look at the amendments proposed by the Ghana Aids Commission before passing the bill into law.
“I don’t want to believe that there are no men who have sex with men in Parliament, and so how are they going to handle their own? Are they going to expose them and give them to police or they will not associate with them. Because if you associate with them, you are an ally… and our advice to Parliament is that we know the law will not be carried out in its current state,” Atuahene said.
Opposition to the bill
Meanwhile, a group of 18 prominent Ghanaian citizens has rejected the proposed anti-gay bill in Parliament, saying it constitutes an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability and human dignity” of the LGBTI community.
The first reading of the bill took place on 2 August 2021 in Parliament, and its consideration is expected to resume in October 2021.
It was initiated by some six MPs led by opposition lawmaker, Sam George, seeking to criminalise lesbianism and gayism in Ghana.
The group led by renowned legal practitioner, Akoto Ampaw, said “the bill violates all the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution,” adding when passed into law it would send Ghana to the dark ages of lawlessness.
Violation of human rights
“The bill violates virtually all the key fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the constitution, namely the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble, freedom of association and the right to organise, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to human dignity,” Ampaw said at a press conference on Monday (4 October).
Other members of the group are Professor Emerita Takyiwaaa Manuh, Communication Specialist, Professor Kwame Karikari, Professor Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the Department of Communication Studies, and Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Dr Yao Graham, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata and Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh of Centre of Democratic Development (CDD).
Others are former Secretary-General of the Trades Unions Congress (TUC), Kwasi Adu Amankwah, Dr Kojo Asante, Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, Akunu Dake, Tetteh Hormeku-Ajie, the Dean of Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Professor Raymond Atuguba, Dr Charles Wereko -Brobby, Dr Joseph Asunka and Nana Ama Agyemang Asante.