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Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill: Ghana will not slip from her enviable human rights record, Akufo-Addo assures diplomats

President Akufo-Addo said he is aware of the difficulties some of the country’s international partners have with the bill passed by Parliament

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured the diplomatic community in Ghana that despite the passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill (commonly known as the “Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill”) by the nation’s Parliament on Wednesday 28 February, Ghana will not let slip her enviable and long-standing record as a country that respects the fundamental human rights of all persons within her boundaries.

Addressing the diplomatic corps in Ghana at the annual “New Year Greeting” at the Peduase Presidential Lodge in the Aburi Hills on Monday (4 March), President Akufo-Addo said he is aware of the difficulties some of Ghana’s international partners have with the bill as passed by Parliament.

However, he announced that a concerned citizen has invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the bill and, to that end, he called on everyone to cease fire until the Supreme Court pronounces judgment on the constitutionality or otherwise of the bill.

“I am aware that last week’s bipartisan passage by Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a private member’s motion, has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her hitherto enviable, long-standing record of human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law.

“I want to assure you that no such backsliding will be contemplated or occasioned. I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk. But, suffice it to say that I have learned that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation,” the president said.

“In the circumstances, it would be as well for all of us to hold our hands and await the decision of the court before any action is taken. The operation of the institutions of the Ghanaian state will determine the future trajectory of the rule of law and human rights compliance in our country,” President Akufo-Addo further said in his remarks to members of the diplomatic community.

Race for Commonwealth secretary general

In his address, President Akufo-Addo called on all Commonwealth member states with representatives among the diplomatic community in Ghana to offer their support to the bid by Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, to become the next elected secretary general of the Commonwealth at the organisation’s October 2024 summit in Samoa.

“As you may know, my very able, hard-working Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is in the race for the position of the secretary general of the Commonwealth on the completion of the mandate in October of the current secretary general, Baroness Patricia Scotland KC.

“I believe you share our view that she is eminently qualified for the position. The Commonwealth is an organisation formed to champion the values of democracy, good governance and equitable and inclusive development among Commonwealth member states, values she will strongly promote,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“We will count on the gracious support of all of the esteemed member states of the Commonwealth for her election in October at the impeding CHOGM summit in Samoa, which is intended to revitalise the organisation and strengthen multilateralism and strategic alliances at the global level,” the president said.

Election 2024

On the 7 December 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo reiterated his administration’s commitment to support the Electoral Commission (EC) to carry out its constitutional duty of conducting a free, fair and transparent election nationwide.

He added that his government is clear in its mind about the duty it has to ensure that the 2024 general election runs peacefully for the people of Ghana to elect their preferred president and MPs. This duty, the president said, will be carried out to perfection.

“On 7 December, the Ghanaian people will elect a new president and a new parliament. The term of the present parliament expires at the end of the year and I am in the last year of permissible eight years that a citizen can exercise the functions of president.

“The Akufo-Addo-led government is clear about its obligation and duty to ensure that the impending elections are conducted in an atmosphere of peace and security, full transparency and respect for the electoral laws of our country,” Akufo-Addo noted.

“I am confident that the security agencies will be alive to their responsibilities and will ensure that the free will of the Ghanaian people and their choice of national leadership will be manifest. We cherish our reputation as the beacon of democracy on the African continent and the forthcoming election will reinforce this reputation,” the president said.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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