Akufo-Addo Cannot Regulate Human Sexuality in Ghana, the Constitution Does – Observes Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

The call for President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo by Sheikh Aremeyaw, the spokesman of the National Chief Imam, to take a public stand on the purely private conduct and culture of homosexuality is quite understandable but grossly misplaced. Indeed, Ghanaian Muslim leaders would do better to pay sedulous attention to the perennial and systematic slaughtering of Egyptian Coptic Christians by their Muslim compatriots (See “Akufo-Addo Must Declare Stance on Homosexuality – Sheikh Aremeyaw” Starrfmonline.com / Modernghana.com 4/6/17). It is grossly misplaced because Ghana is a constitutional democracy whose rules of conduct are clearly articulated by the Fourth-Republican Constitution which went into effect in 1992. If, as a recent news report indicated, the country’s laws are silent on homosexuality, then it is precisely as the framers and/or drafters of the Constitution wanted it.

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If any Ghanaian citizen, irrespective of ethnicity, religious creed or profession wants to have any aspect of the supreme legal document of the country changed or modified, that person has an inalienable right to petition Parliament or the Supreme Court to have his/her case heard. The President of Ghana does not make any laws regulating the conduct of our citizens; neither does he interpret any of these laws. The latter role belongs to the judiciary, while parliament enacts the laws. The presidency, or the executive, can only carry out or administer the laws. Nana Akufo-Addo is a trained lawyer who has served in Ghana’s parliament as well as practiced the same before the highest court of the land; so he fully appreciates the fact that what he feels about any form of human sexuality has absolutely no bearing on both the judicial system and our law-enforcement system as well.

The news story reporting that a 27-year-old gay man called Benjy, of unspecified nationality and/or citizenship, has been going around engaging in rampant acts of unprotected sex with other men is squarely the province of the Ghana Police Service (GPS), especially since Benjy is also alleged to have been clinically diagnosed and been determined to be carrying the Aids virus. But it is also interesting to learn about the manner in which the alleged male prostitute acquired both his promiscuous lifestyle and sexual orientation, at least as contained in the news report referenced above. If the timeline given in the news report has validity, then former President John Agyekum-Kufuor may be partly to blame, albeit obliquely so.

Benjy, we are told, informed the Starrfmonline.com reporter who interviewed him that he acquired his patently unsavory promiscuous sexual habit sometime in 2007, during the electric-power load-shedding regime when he and his classmates were forced to stay in their dormitories because there was no light by which to go to prep or study in their classrooms after supper. It has been said time and again that “The Devil finds work for idle hands.” The dear reader can add his / her own spin or interpretation to the foregoing quote. So far, Benjy claims to have copulated anally with at least a half-thousand clients. We are not told whether all his clients have been straight-out gay. In other words, some of our subject’s sexual partners could have been bisexual who could have gone on to spread the HIV or Aids virus by having sex with unsuspecting women, thereby possibly spreading the deadly disease among the general heterosexual population.

It is on the latter score that I unreservedly agree with those social commentators and cultural critics who want to have Benjy promptly arrested and rigorously prosecuted, especially if he also happens to have deliberately hidden his HIV infection from prospective clients or sexual partners. Short of tracking down Benjy by the steps detailed above, there is absolutely nothing that President Akufo-Addo can do about homosexual culture in the country, a practical reality that no Imam or religious leader can proscribe. Equality of all before the law simply means just that; which is that all Ghanaians, regardless of ethnicity, race, gender and sexuality have the right to full legal protection. We may not like the lifestyle of our next-door neighbor, but we have no other choice but live with it, except where the practitioner of such lifestyle criminally offends or attempts to proscribe or endanger our own.

In essence, Benjy has a right to do whatever he likes and wants with his body, provided that he does not force his sexual orientation on anybody else. So far, he has reportedly said that he is not averse to clients who prefer to engage in coitus with him by the use of prophylactics or condoms. But he is also “wickedly democratic” enough to allow those who prefer it unsafe or natural to have their way. I really don’t see where and how the stance of Nana Akufo-Addo comes in.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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