Tuesday, 23 July

Akufo-Addo's government has no choice than to assent the anti-LGTQ+ Bill into law: Razak Kojo Opoku writes

Feature Article
Nana Akufo-Addo

Because of Daily bread must we destroy our cultural values, identity, traditions and the sexual lives of the future generations?

As for the Court, "any idiot" can test the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill at the Supreme Court but as to whether the Supreme Court will uphold the interest of such individuals against the interest of the overwhelming majority of Ghanaians would be a subject matter for discussion after the determination of the substance of the petition. The Supreme Court will factor the interest of the majority of Ghanaians, Article 1 of 1992 Constitution, and our Culture, Traditions, Identity, Moral Values and Protection of the sexual welfare of the Youth before a determination of the matter brought before them by certain individuals and their sponsors.

First and foremost, let me use this Article to address some of the threats and concerns raised by the following against the Assentment of the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law:

President Akufo-Addo

The President, Nana Akufo-Addo has stated that he is waiting for the determination of the legality of the Bill by Supreme Court before any decision can be taken, and that the Bill has not reached his desk.

I totally disagree with the position of President Akufo-Addo. No matter what, the Bill will definitely reach his desk even before the Supreme Court make pronouncements on the Bill. 

What laws or statutes prevents President of the Republic of Ghana from signing Bills passed by Parliament into Law unless Supreme Court make a determination on them?

Did the Supreme Court elected or appointed the President into office or the Ghanaian Voters? More than 50+1% of Ghanaian Voters elected Nana Akufo-Addo as President of the Republic of Ghana under Article 63(3) of the 1992 Constitution. President Akufo-Addo wasn't elected or appointed by the Exclusive Votes of the Supreme Court. 

According to the Article 1(1) of the 1992 Constitution, "The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose WELFARE the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution".

The decision of Majority of Ghanaians overrides the opinions of Minority.

Therefore, President Akufo-Addo has no choice than to sign the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law regardless of petitions against the Bill at the Supreme Court. 

President Akufo-Addo was enjoying his Presidency while John Mahama was in Court challenging his legitimacy under Article 64 of the 1992 Constitution. John Mahama too was enjoying his Presidency in 2013 while Akufo-Addo was in Court challenging his legitimacy under the same Article 64. None of them was put on hold until final determination by the Supreme Court. 

The New Patriotic Party(NPP) has a critical election to win this year and definitely, the Party should not allow anyone including President Akufo-Addo, some of his close associates and some Members of Parliament to undermine the chances of the Party in the 2024 general election.

If by September 2024, President Akufo-Addo has not assented the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law, it will be like a communal Labour, majority of well meaning Ghanaians will go all out to vigorously campaign against NPP and ensure that NPP is completely out of power. 

National Interest will override Partisan Interest if President Akufo-Addo fails to assent the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law largely because of Petitions against the Bill at the Supreme Court. 

The E-levy has affected the economic, financial, social and human rights of over 33 million people yet President Akufo-Addo signed the E-levy Bill into Law while it was in Court.

So, the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill is more important than the Economic, Financial, Social and human rights of over 33 million Ghanaians affected by E-levy? 

Ministry of Finance

The Press Statement issued by the Ministry of Finance indicating that Ghana is at risk of losing $3.8Billion was a complete joke characterized with ignorance and propaganda aimed at buying time for President Akufo-Addo not to sign the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law.

It is rather incompetence, mismanagement, misappropriation, misapplication, waste of financial resources and reckless/irresponsible borrowing by successive Governments since Independence including Akufo-Addo's Government through the Ministry of Finance that has largely compromised the Economic and Financial Freedom of Ghana. 

The Minister of Finance and his Ministry need to educate themselves with the following facts:

1. Banks in Ghana are Ghana's largest Domestic Creditors and Eurobond Holders are the largest External Creditors.

2. Ghana's Highest Creditors according to the Institute of International Finance(IIF)/International Monetary Fund(IMF) are China($1.7Billion), Eurobond Holders($13.1Billion), Paris Club($1.9Billion), Multilateral Accounts($8.1Billion) and other Creditors($3.2Billion). 

China lending to Ghana represents 80% of non-Paris Club Debts. 

Which part of the Agreements signed with IMF, World Bank, China, Eurobonds Holders and Paris Club Members PREVENTS Sovereign Ghana from passing any law against the activities of LGBTQI+ Community?

How much resources are they also benefiting from Ghana? 

Will the aforementioned Creditors reject the payments of the Loans from Ghana simply because Ghana has passed into Anti-LGBTQ+ Law? 

It is a win-win or lose -lose situation for Ghana, IMF/World Bank, Eurobond Holders and the Paris Club Members.

3. The Major Export & Export Partners of Ghana are predominantly China, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Cote d Ivoire,Burkina Faso, Togo and India.

Ghana's Import Per  Continent by Commodity Type are Europe(36.5%), Asia(31.5%), Africa(7.7%), North America(6.1%), South America(1.9%) and Oceania(1.2%).

However, China is the main origin for Ghana's imports, accounting for the highest share of imports in the Classifications of: Iron & Steel(60.2%), Plastics(35.4%), Chemical Products(30.2%), Machinery & Electrical Equipment(29.8%) and other products(15.6%).

For mineral fuels, the Netherlands is the main Country of origin with 31.2% of all imports. 

In the first half of 2023, the total value of Ghana's exports to African Countries was GHS19.3Billion representing 22% of total exports. Four Countries accounted for 99.5% of Ghana's Gold Exports namely Switzerland(44.4%), South Africa(24.1%), United Arab Emirates(18.1%) and India(12.9%).

The main destination for Ghana's Cocoa beans and products is the Netherlands(24.1% of all cocoa exports). The main origin of vegetable products is Vietnam, accounting for 24.6% of all imports. 


Ghana's Gold, Crude Petroleum, Cocoa Beans Coconuts, Cashews & Cocoa Paste are exported mostly to United Arab Emirates($4.72Billion), Switzerland($3.37Billion), USA($2.83Billion), India($2.04Billion) and China($2.01Billion).


The Diplomatic Community also are at risk of losing the aforementioned imports/exports benefits if Ghana ceases trading with them. 


Paris Club Members

Except Russia, all the members of Paris Club have legalized LGBTQ+. 


LGBTQ+ is legal in Israel(Tel Aviv is considered the largest Gay Capital of the Middle East), Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea(except the military), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States of America. 


Among the Non-Paris Club Members(Ad hoc Participants), except Saudi Arabia, China(Gay Marriage illegal), Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Morocco where LGBTQ+ is illegal, all the other members such India, Turkey, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Argentina and Trinidad & Tobago have legalized LGBTQ+ Rights in their respective countries.


Question to the Paris Club Members


1. How come the Paris Club Members have accepted Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Morocco to be part of them as Ad hoc Participants knowing very well that LGBTQ+ is strictly illegal and Punishable by death penalty?


2. How come the Paris Club Members have accepted Russia and China to be part of them knowing very well that LGBTQ+ Rights are restricted/limited and Gay marriage strictly is strictly illegal? 


Unreasonable Threats from USA

The USA Embassy in Ghana and US State Department are always expressing themselves as if they are the biggest Export and Import Partner of Ghana. However, the Facts and Data NEVER support such threats from the USA.


The Facts and Data indicates that:

1. USA is not the major development partner of Ghana. Currently, China, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland have taken over that position. However, Ghana has never been threatened by China, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland over the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill. 

2. Ghana's mineral fuels and oils make up about 60.3% of the imports from Europe. What will be of the economic conditions of Europe if Ghanaian traders cease to buy from Europe again?

Europe is still benefiting from the financial and natural resources of Ghana. 

3. The USA accounts for 25.5% of imports of vehicles and automative parts into Ghana. What will be the impact on the economy of USA if Ghanaian Car dealers cease to import Vehicles and automative parts from the USA? 

4. The USA is also benefiting hugely from Visa Application fees from Ghanaians.

5. As well, the Aviation and Tourism Industry of USA are benefiting hugely from Ghanaian travelers. The businesses of USA Citizens are also hugely benefiting from the natural and human resources of Ghana. 

The relationship between Ghana and USA is mutually beneficial. Therefore, it is unreasonable for USA Embassy in Ghana to be threatening Ghanaians over the decision of Parliament to pass the LGBTQ+ Bill aimed at safeguarding the Culture, Traditions and Moral Identity of Sovereign Ghana. 

5. Funny enough, Ghana is NOT even among the Top 30 Imports/Exports Partners of USA. The Top 30 Imports/Exports Partners of United States of America(USA) are Mexico, China, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Ireland, Italy, European Union, Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN), United Kingdom(UK), Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Belgium, Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Hong Kong, Chile, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Philippines. 

Has USA cease buying and selling from Saudi Arabia, China and Russia because of their Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws? 


Unreasonable Threats from the IMF

Was acceptance of LGBTQ+ Rights part of the Agreement signed between Ghana and the International Monetary Fund(IMF)? Certainly Not. 


As of March 2023, Russia's outstanding debt to the IMF was $17.3Billion. 


Egypt and Pakistan respectively owed IMF $18 Billion and $7.4Billion. It is worthy to note that the LGBTQ+ is strictly illegal in Egypt and Pakistan. So what is IMF saying about Egypt and Pakistan knowing very well that these two Countries owes the IMF monies more than Ghana? 


Questions to the USA, IMF, World Bank and Diplomatic Community


Has Paris Club rejected Russia, China, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia because of their Anti-LGBTQ+ laws? 


Has BRICS rejected South Africa and Brazil because of their exclusive legalization of LGBTQ+ Rights?


Has IMF stops granting loans to Russia, Egypt etc. because of their strong positions against LGBTQ+ rights?


Has USA stopped trading with Saudi Arabia and Russia because of their strong opposition to LGBTQ+ rights?


Has Ghana stopped trading with South Africa, USA, Netherlands etc because of their legal acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights?


Improvement to Ghana's Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill


A call for amendments to the Anti-LGBTQ+ is in order to:

1. Reduce the sentence of the victims of the LGBTQ+, and also provide decent rehabilitation centers for them or engage them in community services. 

2. Collaborate with the Church, Islam and Traditional authorities as well as Medical Experts to treat the mental illness of LGBTQ+.

3. Reduce the sentence of the Promoters & Financial Sponsors of LGBTQI+. 


However, legal and advocacy attempts by individuals to prevent President Akufo-Addo from signing the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill into Law is meaningless and unreasonable. The Supreme Court in the interest of majority of Ghanaians should not bow to the empty pressures from those advocating against the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.


The NPP shouldn't sit down unconcerned and allow President Akufo-Addo to thwart the chances of the Party in December 7th. 

4years of power under Bawumia as President will be far better than the remaining 9months of Akufo-Addo's Government.

Source: Razak Kojo Opoku