A lead member of a group of Ghana’s lawmakers advocating for a bill to curb the practice and promotion of LGBTQ+ in Ghana, Honorable Sam Dzata George has been widely eulogized by many for his resilience and show of intelligence after a debate with CNN’s Larry Madowo. The lawmaker told the reporter to stop misleading the world after he made certain statements about the proposed bill which were totally untrue.
The lawmaker accused the reporter of deliberately ignoring parts of the bill which protects homosexuals from any kind of assault regardless of its illegality, granting them fair trial but focusing on amplifying misconceptions for propaganda reasons. Larry asked: “Honorable George, are you just a hateful person who does not want people who are different from you to have a life in Ghana?” the lawmaker responded by saying “that’s a defeatist line of questioning; if I am a hateful person, we would not be protecting the rights of persons with LGBTQ and saying that they have a right to a fair trial before a competent court of jurisdiction. Section 22 of our bill prohibits extrajudicial treatment and you are not highlighting that part.”
According to Section 22 of the proposed bill themed “The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021,” a person commits a misdemeanor if that person verbally or physically abuses, assault or harasses a person engaged in homosexuality. Such a person is liable to a fine of not less than 500 penalty units and not more than one thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment not less than 6months or more than 3years. Although the proposed bill renders the practice and promotion of LGBTQ illegal, this provision protects such people from abuse.
In his preliminary questions, the journalist argued that, the fact that some people identify with homosexuality in Ghana, the act which is criminal by law and culturally proscribed in the country should be entertained. “These members of the LGBTQ community we are talking to are also Ghanaians; They are a part of the Ghanaian culture and they are saying they’re gay, they’re trans-sexual, they are bisexual. They are also Ghanaians.” Larry argued.
However, this position was dealt with by the lawmaker who asked a critical question about the United States. “Some of the individuals who were involved in terror attacks in America are American citizens; is it American culture to kill people?… you’re telling me that, because we have people who are carrying out an activity that is illegal per our laws already and our culture frowns on it but because they are found in our jurisdiction, that is our culture. Is it American culture to take a gun to a school and shoot innocent teachers and children?” he asked.
Larry further asked Sam about his reaction to claims by members of the LGBTQ+ community the CNN has been talking to, that they’re afraid for their lives when the bill passes. He responded that, “anybody who is engaged in an illegal activity should be afraid of the law; shouldn’t you? Then there will be no essence of law.”
He added that, “laws are a reflection of society; until 1960 American society did not find women fit to vote and so women did not vote there. When they found them fit to vote, society evolved. Society evolves. At this point in time, the Ghanaian society is in a position where it is saying it is not welcoming homosexuality and any other person must respect the views of the Ghanaian society.” The lawmaker backed this with a recent research by the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) to ascertain the tolerance of homosexuality in Ghana. The report which was published in July this year found that only 7% of Ghanaians tolerate the act out of a 100%.
During the interview, the reporter wrongly claimed that the lawmaker stated in his bill that offenders will be jailed for ten years. “You want to make it difficult for anybody to live an open free life because of who they love in Ghana and you want them to go to jail for 10 days and you are happy about that.”
In response, the Honorable Sam said, “it’s a misinformation to say that anybody who is found guilty of a homosexual act will go to jail for 10 years. That’s a misconception you’re peddling (as a journalist) and you should not do that. According to the bill as read by the lawmaker, a person who violates the provisions “commits a second-degree felony and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 750 penalty units and not more than 5,000 penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not less than 3years or not more than 5years or both so when you talk about ten years imprisonment for homosexuals, you’re misleading the world and that’s unfortunate.”
When asked whether the bill is a major concern for the people who voted for him to represent them in parliament, the Lawmaker argued that, the government of Ghana spent $200 million to subsidize Antiretroviral drugs for HIV patients and the Ghana aids commission earlier published that, men having sex with men are leading the surge in HIV in the west African country. According to him, the $200 million could have fixed the water problem for people in his constituency.
The United States Center for disease reported in 2019 that approximately more than 40% of African-American transgender ‘women’ are living with HIV. Additionally, studies have proven that transgender group is 4 times more likely to contract the virus compared to the general population.
Do you think self-expression should out weigh potential public health crises?