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Ghana LGBT Bill: President’s Decision Awaited

MEMBERS of Ghana’s LGBT community and activists are on edge, awaiting President Nana Akufo-Addo’s verdict on a controversial bill that threatens to exacerbate their plight and deepen persecution within the West African nation.

‘I was born with two eyes, but this is what I have now,’ revealed Kwame, a gay man who bore the physical scars of Ghana’s widespread intolerance towards homosexuality. Reflecting on an attack in 2021 where neighbours targeted him for his sexuality, the 30-year-old expressed deep concern over the bill’s potential repercussions. ‘Imagine if the bill becomes law,’ he told Reuters, fearing an escalation in violence against LGBT individuals.

The bill, which unanimously passed in Parliament in February, awaits the president’s signature. However, delays persist as Akufo-Addo’s office cites pending challenges at the Supreme Court. A crucial ruling by the High Court in Accra is anticipated on Thursday, addressing a lawmaker’s petition to compel swift action from the president.


If enacted, the bill would not only reinforce existing penalties for gay sex, punishable by up to three years in prison, but also introduce stricter measures. Individuals found promoting or supporting LGBT rights could face up to five years behind bars, making it one of Africa’s harshest anti-LGBT laws.

For Kwame and his partner, residing separately for safety, the looming legislation leaves them contemplating escape from Ghana. However, financial constraints limit their options, amplifying the mental toll of concealing their identities and love.

Homophobia pervades culturally conservative Ghana, manifesting in employment and housing discrimination, social ostracisation, and frequent attacks, largely unreported. Human Rights Watch has cautioned that the bill’s enactment could embolden further violence against LGBT individuals and their allies.

The president’s apparent reluctance to sign has sparked a political deadlock, with parliamentary Speaker Alban Bagbin deeming the delay unconstitutional. He proposed halting ministerial appointments as a form of protest, highlighting the contentious nature of the bill within Ghana’s political landscape.

The uncertainty surrounding the bill’s fate weighs heavily on activists like Emmanuel Owusu-Bonsu, who fears its broader societal ramifications. ‘It’s scary,’ he told Reuters, likening the impending law to granting every Ghanaian the power to discriminate with impunity.

As Ghana braces for a potential turning point in its treatment of LGBT rights, the outcome of President Akufo-Addo’s decision holds significant implications for the nation’s future social fabric.

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