Akoto Ampaw and co memo against anti-LGBTQI bill is cognitive dissonance, an F grade for lack of content – Jacob Osei Yeboah

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A 2012 and 2016 Independent Presidential Candidate, Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah has urged the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs to swiftly finalise its work on the anti-LGBT Bill 2021 and see to it that it is passed into law.

The Bill being championed by Ningo Prampram MP Sam George and some of his colleague parliamentarians is seeking to criminalize activities of LGBT.

Earlier this week, a group of Ghanaians including educationalists and lawyers led by Lawyer Akoto Ampaw presented a memorandum to Parliament to oppose the passage of the bill.

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Joining the debate on whether or not the anti-gay bill should be passed, Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah has stressed that it needs to be passed into law immediately.

“Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah’s office strongly supports the LGBT Bill 2021 now before Parliament. The office has no doubt that, by the clear and bold LGBT Bill 2021, Ghana is fulfilling one of the predictions of former US President, Barrack Obama, that Ghana will be among the four nations that will shape the 21st Century,” a statement with the signature of the former presidential candidate has said.

It adds, “We urge the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs to swiftly approve the Bill by Parliament and direct the president to immediately add an amendment to the Bill to provide a lasting solution to recurrent impassioned brawls over LGBTQ+ matters. The LGBT Bill 2021 will unmistakably influence the 21st century discourse on the issue.”

Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah wants the LGBT Bill 2021 to make provision for future entrenched constitutional amendment article on LGBTQ+ as a panacea against external pressures on Ghanaian politicians.

He argues that the memorandum presented to Parliament by Lawyer Akoto Ampaw and his colleagues is a textbook case of cognitive dissonance that completely deviates from the topic at hand and deserves an F grade for its lack of content.

They assert the inviolability of people and express surprise that the proposed Bill will limit freedoms of association, opinion, and belief.

On the argument that the anti-gay bill discriminates and endangers members of the community, Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah in his statement asserts that the LGBTQ+ Bill operates clearly within the law and is aimed at promoting public well-being.

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Below is the statement from Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah:

MEMORANDUM TO SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL AND PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS ON THE:

PROMOTION OF PROPER HUMAN SEXUAL RIGHTS AND GHANAIAN FAMILY VALUES BILL, 2021

Introduction

The office of Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah, 2012 and 2016 Independent Presidential Candidate, wants to reply to Ghana’s Parliament’s call for written memoranda on “PROMOTION OF PROPER HUMAN SEXUAL RIGHTS AND GHANAIAN FAMILY VALUES BILL, 2021” by September 15, 2021. The office has also taken note of other written memoranda submitted by other civil society organizations, esteemed and learned individuals, most notably the memorandum submitted to the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs by fifteen individuals led by Lawyer Akoto Ampaw. The 15 members’ memorandum is a textbook case of cognitive dissonance that completely deviates from the topic at hand and deserves an F grade for its lack of content. They assert the inviolability of people and express surprise that the proposed Bill will limit freedoms of association, opinion, and belief.

They argue that the Bill’s limitation of these freedoms is a violation of human rights and urge for its removal. Are the respected members, headed by Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, claiming ignorance of the fact that some freedoms and rights may be limited by the law in specific circumstances? Aren’t thieves and murderers’ mobility limited when they get prison sentences? Isn’t collusion between people to commit a crime illegal? Is it permissible for thieves and murderers to gather in order to plot under the guise of freedom of assembly and association? It is self-evident that even under democratic regimes, rights are limited when the law determines that doing so is necessary for the greater benefit of society.

The LGBTQ+ Bill has been drafted with due regard for the spirit and text of the 1992 Constitution. It examined Article 21’s specified liberties, Article 15’s human dignity, Article 11’s Ghanaian laws, and Article 18’s protection of privacy. Numerous sections in each of these articles specify the legal circumstances under which people cannot exercise such freedoms, dignity, or liberty. Article 21(2) and 21(4) say (2) “A restriction on a person’s freedom of movement by his lawful detention shall not be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this article; (4) Nothing in, or done under the authority of, a law shall be held to be inconsistent with, or in contravention of, this article to the extent that the law in question makes provision; 18(2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free democratic society for economic well-being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of rights or freedoms of others“; the LGBTQ+ Bill operates clearly within the law and is aimed at promoting public well-being. Lawyer Akoto Ampaw et al. may have to return to the negotiating table with a stronger hand.

Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the Bill will prevent the nation from devolving into the European Middle Ages, when the dignity of anyone caught violating societal norms was physically degraded by the public. The Bill does not advocate for violence against the LGBTQ+ community; rather, it aims to clarify Ghana’s stance on a subject that has devastated the nation for so long and on so many times.

The Akoto Ampaw led memorandum also ignorantly arrogated to themselves the original jurisdiction of Supreme Court in all matters relating to the enforcement or interpretation of the 1992 Constitution, article 130(1a) by stating the unconstitutionality and withdrawal of the LGBT Bill 2021 from Parliament. Indeed, those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad, is brevity description of the memorandum from the 15 members.

Since 2008, when the LGBTQI+ community tried to hold a conference in Koforidua, former President Kuffuor was forced to call it off to prevent threats to the LGBTQ+ community’s safety. In 2011, British Minister Stephen O’Brien antagonized Ghana’s society with imperialist remarks. In 2012, if not for the prompt involvement of the police, as reported by the Ghanaian Times on Wednesday, 14th March, 2012, confrontations in James Town, Accra between gay and heterosexual rivals would have been catastrophic. We all recall the outpouring of emotion in 2013 after the revelation of former President John Mahama’s connection with homosexual activist Andrew Solomon. These many contacts with LGBTQ+ problems that result in heated debates and near intolerance are excellent indicators that Ghana needs to address LGBTQ+ concerns not only for Ghana but Africa and the world at large.

The fact that LGBTQ+ is practiced openly in the Western world does not justify its practice here. Ghana is a sovereign state with ideals distinct from those of the Western world. It is important to notice that President Obama highlighted a basic truth about democracy in his speech to Ghana’s Parliament. “as I said in Cairo, each nation gives life to democracy in its own way, and in line with its own traditions… The essential truth of democracy is that each nation determines its own destiny.” he added. Ghana’s democracy may be defended by passing a bill on LGBTQ+ rights based on our sociocultural and traditional ideas that support our human values system, not the Western world’s. In every way, the LGBT Bill 2021 is democratic because it respects right to life, it respects rule of law and seeking majority decision to be passed by Parliament of Ghana.

Mr. O’Brien, the then-UK Minister for African Development, emphasized the need of Ghana accepting the LGBTQ+ community in 2011. My answer to him was published in the August 8, 2011 issue of the New Crusading Guide. I said that ‘endangered creatures are legally protected. Who would counsel and impart knowledge that the emotions of ‘gays and lesbians’ threaten the human species?” Apart from Ghanaian cultural values, the danger to sustainable human reproduction and therefore to the Ghanaian community’s extinction is obvious. Procreation is nature’s method of guaranteeing human survival; promoting LGBTQ+ may result in a gradual decline in births as more individuals practice it. Fundamentally, human rights exist to prohibit actions that jeopardize or destroy human life or what makes us human.

The magnitude of quiet pressure exerted on our frail governments makes it almost difficult for our Presidents to introduce a bill on LGBTQ+ issues. In 2011, I argued that the best approach to safeguard the presidency for permanent solution would be for a referendum to decide on LGBTQ+. The number of lives wasted as a result of ignorance and ambiguity around LGBTQ+ issues is higher than the expense of holding a referendum.

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CORE ISSUES OF CONSIDERATION

A. Human Rights in Sexual Acts and Behaviors by LGBTQ+

The LGBT Bill 2021 has sufficient safeguards to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ prisoners, just as it does with any other party’s breach of the law. The crime imposed by the LGBT Bill on the LGBTQ+ community’s sexual orientation actions is based on the fact that such orientations obstruct or destroy human life, and that those behaviors are often harmful to the physical health of LGBTQ+ marriage partners. Our primary basic human right as a collective is to prohibit LGBTQ+ people from doing actions that obstruct or destroy human reproduction. Any such conduct is criminalized in all advanced cultures to serve as a deterrence.

We need to be clear in our thoughts that the LGBTQ+ community does not fall in the definition of minority and vulnerable in societies under human rights protection as pertain to ethnic and religious minority as examples. Criminals like armed robbers and murderers will always be minority in society but their actions are dissonance to societies and they do not qualify as pertain to those whose actions are beneficial to societies but are minority due to race, colour, religion etc. In view of established criminality of LGBTQ+ actions as destructive to human life and injurious to physical health of LGBTQ+ marriage partners, the LGBT Bill 2021 rightfully deals with the matter as any civilised nation deals with criminality.

Worldwide data and studies show a high incidence of HIV AIDS and adult men in pampers as a result of anus prolapse during anal intercourse. The only purpose of human rights advocacy is to prevent LGBTQ+ sexual acts from being committed by criminalizing them as a deterrent.

No society that upholds the law permits criminals to organize and establish organizations such as armed robbers associations, murderers associations, and so on. No civilised country also permits sponsorship or promotion of illegal activities without making reference to aiding and abetting or allying, as the LGBT Bill 2021 prohibits. The Bill’s sections 4, 6, 12, and 14 all make excellent arguments. The LGBT Bill is very protective of offenders’ human rights, just as it is of any other criminal. Sections 20, 21, and 22 detail the extent to which criminals’ human rights are protected and how they may get medical care.

In 2011, I argued that the best approach to safeguard the presidency for permanent solution would be for a referendum to decide on LGBTQ+. The LGBT Bill 2021 should endeavor to make provision for future entrenched constitutional amendment article on LGBTQ+ as a panacea against external pressures on Ghanaian Politicians.

B. Protection of Victims of Prohibited Sexual Acts

In Ghana and the majority of Africa’s countries, but also globally, the majority of individuals engage in LGBTQ+ activities are mostly owing to economic disadvantage. The select committee should include a worldwide protection provision that provides victims with up to fifty percent (50%) of the offender’s or marital partner’s estate. This ensures that individuals who continue to engage in covert LGBTQ+ weddings risk losing up to half of their fortunes to victims or partners who inform authorities. As a result, the select committee should modify section 19 of the LGBT Bill 2021 to incorporate this provision.

Conclusion

The LGBT Bill 2021 is intent on clarifying how the sexual actions and behaviors of the LGBTQ+ group violate the most basic human right to life by hindering or decimating reproduction. The Bill justifiably criminalized sexual actions committed by LGBTQ+ individuals, emphasizing the value of life and physical injury to marriage partners. The bill’s provisions 20, 21, and 22 protect discrimination and other relevant human rights concerns. The select committee should include a worldwide protection provision by amending section 19 of the LGBT Bill 2021 that makes provision for victims to claim up to fifty percent (50%) of the offender’s or marital partner’s estate as compensation.

By embracing our historic belief in appropriate human sexual act for pleasure and reproduction, the LGBT Bill 2021 is extremely democratic. The Bill is a panacea to the reality that human beings have established laws to protect endangered species from extinction, and it is past time that laws be enacted to safeguard the human race from extinction on earth. Notwithstanding, the explained criminality of LGBTQ+ actions, it is rather a travesty of Justice and undemocratic for impugned actions of minority be allowed to impact societies negatively in harmful ways.

The LGBT Bill 2021 should endeavor to make provision for future entrenched constitutional amendment article on LGBTQ+ as a panacea against external pressures on Ghanaian Politicians.

Mr. Jacob Osei Yeboah’s office strongly supports the LGBT Bill 2021 now before Parliament. The office has no doubt that, by the clear and bold LGBT Bill 2021, Ghana is fulfilling one of the predictions of former US President, Barrack Obama, that Ghana will be among the four nations that will shape the 21st Century. We urge the Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs to swiftly approve the Bill by Parliament and direct the president to immediately add an amendment to the Bill to provide a lasting solution to recurrent impassioned brawls over LGBTQ+ matters. The LGBT Bill 2021 will unmistakably influence the 21st century discourse on the issue.

Jacob Osei Yeboah

2012 and 2016 Independent Presidential Candidate

7th October, 2021

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