Open letter to the President, Parliament: Ghanaians looking up to you on LGBTQi+ conundrum
His Excellency Mr President and our honourable parliamentarians,
When we agreed to undergo the democratic system of governance, we agreed as per the Constitution, to be bound by all the laws we have in the statute books, and also to safeguard our sovereignty and identity as a people distinct from all other people’s groups.
As part of the agreement, we decided to hand over our power as individuals to a few persons by electing those who would protect and defend our way of life; our freedoms, our culture, our belief systems, and to mobilise and utilise all the available resources for that task. In this our era (2021-2024), you happen to be the people we have chosen to do that task. Not to do something about it immediately will collectively and severally be an indictment against you in the eyes of your constituents and a betrayal of their trust as their representatives.
We believe one major task that can help guarantee our interest is appropriate legislation which lies within your mandate to perform. It is instructive to note that in line with our evolving requirements, laws that are found to be obsolete or inadequate in serving our needs at any moment can be amended, or new ones made to augment the old ones. And the option of a private member’s bill is now open to our honourable parliamentarians so anyone that knows that the interest of Ghanaians will be served by an appropriate legislation needs not rely upon the executive alone.
I believe that the way this matter is handled by our leaders will have consequences for their electoral fortunes in the future because Ghanaians are passionate about it and will not hesitate to punish any politician they suspect to be dragging his or her feet about the resolution of this matter.
Let me remind you of this popular saying about four men. The four men were called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could do it but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it. But Nobody realised that Everybody would not do it. And so, the important job did not get done.
Please, it is better to have more bills from different parliamentarians and even the President to think around than to have nothing at all; for, as the Akan adage goes “Enam dodo nsee Nkwan” to wit, a lot of fish or meat does not spoil a soup.
It was Shakespeare who wrote that: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the floods, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current while it serves or lose our ventures.”
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I believe the current controversial discovery of an LGBTQI+ office in Ghana is the opportune time for our elected politicians, that is, the President and the Parliament of Ghana, to enact laws that will put to rest the question of whether we will allow or not allow these people (LGBTQi+) to operate here.
Laws, not speeches, are what we need at the moment.
While it is appreciated that some pronouncements have gone out condemning the practice in this country, laws, not speeches, will bring a finality to this matter. The enactment of the appropriate laws will also define our relationships with our so-called development partners concerning what they are allowed to meddle in or not.
Any so-called diplomat who gets involved with championing the affairs of such a group will then know where we stand on this matter and will have himself or herself to blame if he or she is made a persona non grata in this country.
The political parties which sponsored all the current elected officers must also make it a part of their constitutions to prohibit these activities in their rank and file, and also not support any effort by foreign organisations, which may come with campaign money, to get our laws to be made with loopholes that such people can exploit to perpetuate their nefarious agenda.
Every country is to be allowed to be different in spite of the need for cooperation in the comity of nations.
There are many organisms which live in water like various types of fish, amphibians, insects and the crocodile. All of these animals derive their livelihoods from the water, and yet depending on their different make-ups, they each have different ways of living in the water; distinct from the other occupants of the same water based upon their individual constitutions.
The fish breathes through their gills and do not need to come to the surface for air, but others like the crocodile and the hippopotamus have to come to the surface to take breaths of air because they breathe through lungs.
The world situation can be likened to the water environment where all the different countries are supposed to be dependent upon the comity of nations for the well-being of their citizens, but, like in the analogy above in relation to the water environment, our cultures and belief systems make us different from each other. That is why different countries have different laws to regulate the activities of its citizens and other inhabitants.
There must be some non-negotiable aspects of our relationships with the other nations and the multilateral organisations, like the United Nations, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the European Union, to mention but a few.
For example, in most African societies, men are allowed to marry more than one woman, while in most Western countries, such an undertaking is deemed criminal by law. No African man goes to Europe or the United States of America to marry two wives because they respect the laws of these jurisdictions. Can you imagine an association of polygamists demanding that they be registered, and given rights to practice their lifestyles in Europe and America? If these areas can allow that, especially allow these people to make their white girls their second or third wives, they can then begin the debate for other lifestyles in other jurisdictions..
As a nation we have our own ways of living which must be understood by these other nations and organisations. Like the crocodile is distinct from the fish, they must be made aware that certain types of behaviour which they are trying to foist on us as human rights issues are alien to our psyche and orientation as a people.
These so-called human rights provisions in the requirements of these organisations are viewed as aberrations in the character of the people who are championing them. In spite of the secular nature of our state, it must be understood that more than 95 per cent of our population are actively religious and all the religions that we are members of do not permit these practices. Indeed, they are considered abominations to which serious punishments, including death, are prescribed by some of these faiths.
Christians 75 per cent, Muslims 18 per cent and traditional religious practioners five per cent, and others all condemn these practices.
We, as a people, therefore, by our understanding, view them as people with problems who must be helped by providing them with treatment and not as people who must be left to perpetuate this aberration to associate and operate, as a right to be granted license.
We, therefore, consider these people as sick and needing the attention of the nation, and not as people with rights to be left alone to operate as normal individuals. Our position on the matter of LGBT is that these people are sick and cannot be left alone to operate in our country as normal human beings with their own groupings.
Rights versus norms
Freedom of association is not for deviants in any society. Otherwise, people like beggars, fraudsters and pickpockets would form recognisable associations and demand their rights to practise their obnoxious lifestyles in our society.
We must be allowed to treat them as our laws stipulate, at best as sick individuals who need help, and there are arrangements to isolate them and assist them to recover from these sexual perversions. We believe that the issue borders on our existence as human beings and the future of our generations.
We believe that the first purpose of sexuality and thus marriage relationships is for the perpetuation of our kind, and any so-called sexual orientation that sets aside this most important gift of life must be discouraged and not supported or allowed in any human society. The pursuit of sexual fulfilment in an abnormal way is lust. Lust is negative and should not be encouraged in any society.
Moreover, it must be made clear to those countries which seek to champion these so-called rights to warn their citizens who intend to come to this country with these orientations that they are considered as crimes in our statute books, and so there is the possibility that those who practice them will be arrested; and the necessary sanctions applied to such people.
What is our faith, culture and way of life cannot be exchanged with the filthy lucre of aid, grant or whatever inducement these so-called friends who do not respect our ways of life will offer?
We Christians particularly understand that it is not only those who practice such things, but also those who approve of those who practise them, are deserving of the wrath of God (Romans 1:32).
We believe that if the 75 per cent of us sit by and allow the nation to go down this slippery road to damnation, we would have failed our country. The politicians, especially the elected ones, must understand that the Christian community can make or mar them if they are not handled in a way that respect their faith and its accompanying practices.
These activities offend the sensibilities of the average Ghanaian, and must be legislated out of our country. Not being a lawyer, I am not sure whether the current legislation goes far enough to take care of the many confused additions to the practice of sodomy, and tougher all-encompassing legislation must be put in place to put an end to the agitations of the so-called human rights activists.
This is not considered a human rights issue in Ghana. Simplicita.
The author is the pastor of The Shining Light Temple of the Dominion Outreach Church at Mensah Bar, near Oyibi. He may be reached on 0541884405