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Five NPP MPs who have criticized anti-LGBTQ+ bill

Fri, 15 Oct 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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After being called out for what their critics perceived to be their loud silence on the raging LGBTQ+ saga, the Majority Caucus in Parliament over the weekend discovered their voices and joined the discourse.

It all begun when the Deputy General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Obiri Boahen, implicitly criticized the 136 NPP MPs for their silence on the issue.

Beginning with the majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who in a tweet on Saturday relayed his frustration with seeming politicization of the issue, the NPP MPs have since found their voices.

Interestingly however, their argument appears to be a total rejection of same-sex relations in the country but a criticism of the anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) bill currently before parliament.

Below are five NPP MPs who have criticized the bill

Frank Annoh-Dompreh

In the most recent wave of majority MPs being vocal about the bill, their Chief Whip was first to address he issue.

Whiles lamenting the political twist to the issue, the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP said that the majority supports the bill but the bill in its current state is ‘defective’.

“It’s unfortunate the LGBTQ bill is being politicized. As the majority caucus in Parliament, we agree in principle that legislation that protects Ghanaian values in all areas of life must be supported. However the bill, as it is now, is defective,” he said.

“We need to fine-tune it to ensure that it maximizes the protection of rights and freedoms in consonance with democratic principles as we have practiced uninterrupted for over 3 decades,” he said.

Kwame Anyimadu

The Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Kwame Anyimadu Antwi argued out his point from the financial perspective.

He stated in a Joy News interview that the bill will have financial implications on the state. He was by that view dissenting to a position by Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin who had allowed it to proceed to the First Reading stage.

“The constitution says that before we could do Private Member’s bill, the person presiding, in his opinion, must decide that the bill is not going to affect the purse of the nation. So they brought this [anti-LGBTQI+ bill] to the Speaker, and the Speaker agreed that let this pass through because, in his opinion, it is not affecting the national purse.

“That decision that the Speaker made, I do not agree with that. If you criminalize it and a person is sentenced to prison, who’s going to feed the person, so it affects the national purse,” he said.

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The Majority Leader joined the debate on Monday, October 11, 2021 with a series of interviews before an official press conference a day after.

He declared his support for the bill but also stated that some work needed to be done on it before being passed.

He called for a “careful balance” in assessing the Bill

"We are a democratic country and Parliament should ensure that the rights of citizens are protected. The fact that majority rules, doesn’t also mean we should trample on the rights of others. The appropriate thing will be done.”

Kobina Tahiru Hammond

KT Hammond, the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa also said none of the MPs on the Majority side is against the principle.

He however wants some tweaks and modifications to be done to the bill before being passed.

“I don’t think this Bill will go up wholesale. The Bill will definitely be scrutinized, so we make sure it doesn’t offend the rights of anyone and get the consideration right. But absolutely, all the 137 NPP MPs are in support of this Bill,” he stated in a Citi News interview.

“What we are saying is that we will not allow the proponents of LGBTQI+ rights to pollute the public morals of this country… We will not agree. Those kicking against the bill have no vote in Parliament. We will bring the law out, and we are clear in our minds that if the Bill comes to Parliament we will support it.”

Sheila Bartels

The Member of Parliament for Ablekuma North has also joined calls for some fine tuning to the bill.

In a social media post, Sheila Bartels said that the bill has the support of all the NPP MPs.

“I have not come across ONE NPP MP who wants LGBTQI+ legalised. I have heard some MPs suggest that the draft bill in its state can potentially trample on some fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution. All I know is that we want to ensure that in the process of expanding the law to cover LGBTQI+, we create an airtight legislation that can stand the test of time. This takes lots of discussion, dialogue, research and effort. Not a one-day matter but we are committed to protecting our basic values as a country,” she wrote.

Interesting to note that some members on the minority side have also criticized the bill. The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has said that some work needed to be done on the bill.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com