Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Leads Parliament Speaker to Halt Confirmation of Cabinet Nominees

Ghana's Supreme Court Reschedules Hearing on Anti-LGBTQ Bill
President Akufo-Addo is under pressure from both sides over the controversial bill

Ghana’s Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Leads Parliament Speaker to Halt Confirmation of Cabinet Nominees

Amidst a contentious debate over President Nana Akufo-Addo’s delay in signing an anti-LGBTQ+ bill passed last month, the speaker of Ghana’s parliament has taken a decisive stance by blocking the approval of new ministers.

The presidency has requested parliament to withhold sending the bill for the president’s assent until legal challenges against it are resolved. This move has been condemned by the speaker, who deems it “contemptuous.” The bill in question seeks to criminalize gay relationships and those who support them, sparking intense pressure on President Akufo-Addo from both supporters and opponents of the legislation, including Western donors and human rights groups.

Adding to the complexity, a lawyer has challenged the bill’s validity at the Supreme Court, citing procedural irregularities during its passage through parliament. Presidential Secretary Nana Asante Bediatuo has argued against forwarding the bill to the president until the court decides.

In response to the president’s stance, Speaker Alban Bagbin halted the approval of new ministers and their deputies, viewing it as a strategic move to exert pressure. Bagbin underscored that the president’s refusal to accept the bill contradicts constitutional and statutory provisions governing the legislative process, posing a threat to parliamentary authority.

The delay in signing the bill is crucial, as President Akufo-Addo recently nominated 12 ministers and deputy ministers in a significant cabinet reshuffle. The move has elicited mixed reactions from parliamentary leaders, with the minority leader supporting the speaker’s decision while the majority leader expressing disappointment and advocating for broader consultation.

Meanwhile, the opposition presidential candidate, John Mahama, has labeled the presidency’s letter as unconstitutional, emphasizing that the presidential secretary lacked the authority to correspond with parliament.

The proposed legislation, titled “The Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill,” enjoys bipartisan support and seeks to impose severe penalties on LGBTQ+ individuals and advocates. However, President Akufo-Addo, who previously indicated willingness to sign the bill, now emphasizes Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights amid concerns about potential ramifications on international funding and the country’s economic stability.

Given the ongoing legal challenges and the impending elections in December, the bill’s fate remains uncertain, with implications stretching beyond domestic legislation to international relations and economic prospects.


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