Ghana’s anti-LGBTQ+ bill: The speaker of the parliament stops cabinet nominations


A dispute over the president’s tardiness in signing a bill that was enacted last month that targets LGBTQ+ people has led to the speaker of Ghana’s parliament blocking the appointment of new ministers.

The president has requested that the law not be handed to parliament for ratification until the legal challenges against it have been resolved.

The move by the presidency has been denounced by the speaker as “contemptuous”.

The bill makes it illegal to be in a gay relationship or to support one.

Human rights organizations and Western funders, in addition to Ghanaians who want it signed into law, are putting a lot of pressure on President Nana Akufo-Addo to reject it.

The bill has been challenged in the Supreme Court by an attorney who claims that there was not a quorum—the minimal number of Members of Parliament—in parliament when it was passed.

Presidential secretary Nana Asante Bediatuo stated in a letter to parliament on Monday that it was “improper” for the president to receive the law before the court rules on the issue.

Then, on Wednesday, in an apparent attempt to put more pressure on the president, Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin suspended the approval process for new ministers and their deputies.

“The president’s refusal to accept the transmission of the bill is, by all accounts, not supported by the constitutional and statutory provisions that guide our legislative process,” Mr. Bagbin stated to lawmakers.He declared that the “ongoing scenario poses a grave threat to our legislative authority” and that the parliament could not accept new ministers.

In a massive cabinet reorganization that resulted in the resignation of the finance minister, President Akufo-Addo nominated 12 ministers and deputy ministers last month. The parliamentary committee was vetting the new ministers.

Cassiel Ato Forson, the parliament’s minority leader, backed Mr. Bagbin’s action, stating that the speaker’s worries were valid.

The speaker’s choice was deemed “disappointing” and “strange” by Alexander Afenyo-Markin, the head of the parliamentary majority, who also said that more consultation should have been conducted beforehand.John Mahama, the front-runner in the December polls for the opposition presidential candidacy, has called the presidential letter unlawful. He claimed that the presidential secretary was not authorized to send the parliament a letter of this nature.

Both of Ghana’s major political parties supported the proposed strict new legislation, known as the Ghanaian Family Values and Proper Human Sexual Rights bill.

Anyone who identifies as LGBTQ+ faces a maximum three-year prison sentence, and those who promote such actions risk a five-year sentence.

Prominent figures from the Muslim and Christian communities have supported it.In the past, President Akufo-Addo had stated that he would sign it if the majority of Ghanaians desired it.

However, he is currently working to reassure the world that Ghana is dedicated to protecting human rights.

According to Ghana’s finance ministry, the law could cost the nation $3.8 billion (£3 billion) in lost World Bank support over the course of the next five to six years.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided a bailout to the West African nation last year as it dealt with a severe economic crisis.

It seems improbable that the Supreme Court will make a decision in this matter before to the December elections for the legislature and presidency.

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