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IMF loan comes along with homosexuals

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 Source: Roger A.Agana

Around April 2013, the Executive Board of International Monetary Fund (IMF) approves a $918-million loan support Ghana’s ailing economy over the next three years. Observers are wondering how Ghana will be able to repay the loan and meet the strict conditions imposed by creditors.

One of such hidden conditions is that Ghana needs to put in place sufficient safeguards to prevent discrimination against health care workers serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients in the country.

“The World Bank Group may be prohibited from interfering in countries’ internal politics, but that doesn’t mean it can’t build the economic case for stemming discrimination against sexual minorities,” the Bretton Wood Institution has stated on its website.

In 2014, the research arm of the global financial institution, took up a new project exploring a causal connection between discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals, and constraints to economic growth.

“Agreeing to protect LGBT is a hidden conditionality for the loan to be approved,” top World Bank official who pleaded anonymity has stated, adding that, by accepting the loan, Ghana now agrees to be gay rights advocates.

Consequently, the loan contracted by the ruling NDC government has attracted a number of homosexuals into the country, even though the country’s laws criminalizes unnatural canal knowledge.

Ghana recorded over 30,000 homosexuals

As at 2014, it was estimated that men who have sex with men (MSM) in Ghana are over 30,000 and they can be found in all 10 regions of the country. The figure is contained in a report titled integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance (IBBS) survey, which was commissioned by the Ghana AIDS Commission in 2011.

According to the report, 17% of men who sleep with men (MSM) are living with HIV. In a highly religious country like Ghana, homosexuality is seen as an imported foreign lifestyle choice and a moral aberration.

While churches and mosque have been at the forefront of leading a crusade against what they describe as a moral canker, some human right activist in the country including top officials in the ruling government consider the subject a human rights issue.

Unlike in Western countries, where homosexuals practice their act in the open, gays and lesbians in Ghana maintain their relationship underground because of the social stigma associated with their sexual orientation.

While politicians remain vocal on almost all issues, few in Ghana are willing to take the political risk of advocating tolerance for the rights of homosexuals.

Ex- President Kufuor banned homosexual activities

In 2006, the New Patriotic Party Government led by ex-President John Kufuor banned a conference for gay men and lesbians that were to be held in the country. In 2003, an Accra Circuit Court jailed four gay men for engaging in homosexual activities.

Ex-President Mills frown on homosexuality

In February 2012, the late President Atta Mills reiterated the government's stance on LGBT rights, saying: “Ghanaian societies frown on homosexuality ... if the people's interest is that we do not legalize homosexuality, I don't see how any responsible leader will decide to go against the wishes of his people… Nobody can say in Ghana we discriminate against homosexuality, there is no witch-hunting on homosexuality ... that is their own problem so we move on.”

Late President Mills during his term of office called the bluff of UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, over the latter’s threat to cut aid to countries with anti-gay legislation, adding that, Ghana will not accept aid with conditions which have the tendency to destroy the social fabric of the society.

"Let me also say that whiles we acknowledge all the financial assistance and all the aid which has been given to us by our development partners, we will not accept any aid with strings attached if that aid will not inure to our interest," the late president talked tough.

Equatorial Guinea President warned Mahama over homosexuality

The President of Equatorial Guinea, three years ago, warned President John Dramani Mahama and other African leaders not to tolerate, accept or allow the issue of homosexuality to get roots in their countries as it is an abomination before God.

Addressing local and international journalists at a press conference held in Malabo (the capital city of Equatorial Guinea) recently, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said, "Homosexuality is not God's will for His people and should not even be discussed in Africa including Ghana. We strongly believe that righteousness exalts nation and not homosexuality."

He added, “The Book of Leviticus Chapter 18 tells us that man is not supposed to get married to another man or they are not supposed to have sexual intercourse with another man, which means that God will punish the nation which tolerates this type of abomination.”

World Bank suspends loan to Uganda

The World Bank, sometime ago, has suspended a planned $90m loan to Uganda meant to strengthen its health care system after its president signed into law a bill prescribing harsh jail terms for homosexual offences.

The decision by the global lender comes days after homosexuality supporting countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway said they would also freeze or change aid programmes for Uganda because of the law.

The Uganda anti-gay law will see those convicted of “aggravated homosexuality” – defined as sex between gay men and minors or the disabled – jailed for life. “We have postponed the project for further review to ensure that the development objectives would not be adversely affected by the enactment of this new law,” a World Bank spokesman said.

World Bank’s first meeting with homosexuals

The World Bank’s spring meetings in April 2014 saw the first official meeting between the Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim and 15 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leaders.

The meeting took place just two months after the Bank postponed a $90 million loan to Uganda’s health care sector following the government’s introduction of an anti-homosexuality act which imposes lifetime imprisonment for homosexuality.

The Bank said it wanted to ensure that the development outcomes of this loan “would not be adversely affected by the enactment of this new law.”

The Banks involvement with LGBT rights has attracted controversy. UK magazine the Economist suggested in April that the Bank has “to pick its battles” and that “setting up gay rights as a test of its lending decisions is likely to make the Bank less effective at what Mr Kim himself has emphasised is its core job: tackling extreme poverty.”

A response by a number of LGBT activists who attended the meetings in Washington argued that the loan demonstrated the need for the Bank to “adopt a safeguard policy on sexual orientation and gender identity that would prevent exclusion and recognise these individuals as important stakeholders in its work”, as part of its safeguards review.

An April report submitted to the Bank by consultants reviewing the case is alleged to suggest that, despite the anti-homosexuality act, the Bank should proceed with the loan but ensure strict conditions that health care workers should not be prosecuted for serving LGBT patients.

In an early May, six US-based NGOs, including Health Global Access Project, wrote to to Kim arguing “that there have not yet been sufficient safeguards put in place to prevent discrimination in health service provision for LGBT patients” for the loan to be approved.

A concerned citizen, Thomas Darko, is calling on the public to vote against any party, whose ideology supports activities of homosexuals in the country.

Columnist: Roger A.Agana