There was drama on the floor of parliament during the consideration of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values bill also known as (anti-LGBTQ+ bill).
Sponsors of the bill clashed with the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, over a proposed amendment.
According to a myjoyonline.com report, Anyimadu Antwi proposed the deletion of Clause 4 of the bill, which he argued was not only ambiguous but highly subjective in nature.
His proposed amendment was based on a recommendation from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Godfred Dame on the bill.
“Though this clause creates an offence relating to undermining proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values what constitutes ‘undermine’ is not defined and therefore the basis of the offence cannot be determined.
“Mr. Speaker this is the advice the learned Attorney General gave to the committee and the entire committee agreed on this advice. And that’s why we agreed as has been said by ranking that it was too much of subjectivity and ambiguities and that is why we propose that in deleting and creating an offence we shouldn’t be having ambiguities and subjectivities. That is why the proposal is to delete the entire clause,” he is quoted to have said.
But the Member of Parliament for South Dayi and a sponsor of the anti-gay bill, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor rejected the proposed deletion by the legal committee chairman.
He argued that the clause cannot be deleted because it is an integral part of the bill.
“Mr. Speaker the essence of four is so cardinal to this legislation. So, so cardinal, so, so fundamental to it. I’ve been struggling to appreciate the point made by the ranking member that this offence in Article 39, he’s not been able to point it out. The subjectivity element that he points to that, too I am struggling to appreciate.
“Because you see when we enacted the provision this way, subject to the enhancement contained in the amendments listed thereafter, there will be investigations if somebody makes a complaint that Clause 4 which subsequently will become section four has been breached, that is not the end of it. Investigations will be conducted. It is the investigation that will establish a prima facie that indeed Clause 4 subsequently section 4 of the law has been breached or not,” he explained.
What Clause 4 of the anti-gay bill states:
Prohibition against undermining proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values
4. (1) A person shall not
(a) undermine the proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values specified in section 2 of this Act; or
(b) directly or indirectly, instigate, command, counsel, procure, solicit, or in any other manner purposely aid, facilitate, encourage or promote, whether by a personal act or presence or otherwise, an act that undermines the proper human sexual rights and Ghanaian family values.
(2) A person who contravenes paragraphs (a) or (b) of subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than one thousand penalty units and not more than two thousand penalty units or a term of imprisonment not less than two months and not more than four months.
The MPs also considered Clause 6 of the bill which covers punishment for offenders.
Under the bill, homosexuality will be treated as a misdemeanour. The chairman of the committee proposed a prescribed punishment of “not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years” imprisonment.
Meanwhile, some MPs have proposed a minimum sentence of 3 months.