Today on GTV’s morning Focus hosted by George Sappor was a clash between Prof. Emerita Takyiwaa Manuh who is a former Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana and Sam Dzata George who is the MP for Ningo Prampram and the deputy Ranking Member, Communications Committee. The topic they discussed was the LGBTQI+ debate, whether the constitution should be amended to criminalize the act.
Prof. Emerita Takyiwaa was against the motion under discussion and thinks the act should not be criminalized because it infringes on the rights of the people. She said parliament will be convening soon for us to know what is in the bill and not what we believe. She said articles 1,2 of the constitution affirms its supremacy and how it overrides any law that is inconsistent with it.
According to Prof. chapter 5 of the constitution sets out the fundamental human rights and freedoms of everyone in Ghana. Irrespective of race, political opinion, religion, gender and so on. It sets out the protection of the right to life, personal liberty, respect for human dignity, equality and freedom from discrimination, and so on. Then in article 21 goes into the fundamental freedoms.
Prof made it clear that if there is a law that seems to interfere with the rights, it must be specifically justified in certain legitimate public interest rounds and must be shown it is reasonably required unnecessarily. For realizing the legitimate public goals that provide the grounds for the bill.
Hon. Sam George stepped in saying for them they must perform. And their duty to perform is to protect the constitution and protect the citizens of this republic. Their bill is in absolute conformity with the constitution, otherwise, it wouldn’t have gotten a warrant from the speaker of Parliament. They submitted the bill and it took them almost a month before they got the warrant to gazette the bill.
The legal Unit of parliament has read through it to ensure its conformity with the constitution, article 108, private members bill. The speaker has been a lawyer for many years himself and he found the bill legal enough and also conforms with our constitution. I have read the memo by Prof and her colleagues in academia and it is part of our processes. Our processes include a memorandum and we are convinced of the quality of work we have done.
As sponsors of the bill, they are minded from the onset that the text of the bill will not be the same as they submitted to the parliament. However, an amendment to bills even makes them stronger and do not affect the object of the bill. So should parliament make any amendment, it will still serve the purpose on board.
Sam George added that he have been hearing Prof and her learned colleagues talk about the 1992 constitution and human rights in chapter 5 like she said. But can she point to me or show me where in the constitution does it confer homosexual rights or gay rights on anybody. He said the constitution itself makes everything clear and even from the right she stated, sexual preference is not a part of it.
Even under discrimination, it gives us race, ethnicity, religion, and it says gender and not sexual preference. So I don’t really get what they are basing their arguments on. “Prof. can you show me where in the constitution?” says Sam George. He said on their side they are basing on article 39, but he will be glad and very much educated if Prof can point out a specific human right in the constitution on sexual preferences. Because if it is not a human right then how are you violating it.