13 Oct Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said that it is out of place for the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to have made a predetermination concerning the “Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021” bill. According to him, the Speaker is technically not a Parliamentarian and thus cannot make such a commitment on behalf of Parliament. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made this known at a press briefing organised by the Majority Caucus in Parliament to address issues surrounding the anti-LGBT bill. He said, “the Speaker cannot commit parliament, the Speaker can make a referral to Parliament which will be programmed by the business committee for consideration. “I’ll find it difficult if we have a Speaker who as part of his own antecedent as a former member of parliament says that parliament is going to pass the bill. It’s a bit of difficulty unless I didn’t hear well.” “I’m not saying parliament is not going to pass it, but the speaker should not make a predetermination for the house because he’s not a Member of Parliament and this is the business of Parliament,” he added. The proponents of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021 bill are seeking to criminalise the LGBTQ community in Ghana. Should it be passed, persons who identify as LGBTQ and or engage in the said practice could face up to five years imprisonment. LGBT activists could also face up to a 10-year-jail time. Portions of the bill proposed that “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.” Proponents say they have the overwhelming support of Ghanaians, one of the reasons why they are pushing that it be passed expeditiously. However, the legislation faces stiff opposition as the Parliament’s Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs has received over 120 memos geared towards shaping the bill.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Nkwantanang has described as laughable the Madina MP’s decision to embark on a demonstration over lack of development in his constituency.
Jennifer Dede Adjabeng, in an interview on Joy News’ AM Show said lawmakers contribute to an area’s development through lobbying. Therefore, it is unfortunate for Francis-Xavier Sosu to resort to protest to get the needed infrastructural projects for the Madina community.
“Respectfully, we all know how Members of Parliament play a key role in lobbying their colleagues to bring development. And you come in, and you cannot boast of one meter of road, and your easy way of this is a demonstration.
“It is very unfortunate, and we need him to do better than that,” she said on Tuesday.
Mr Sosu on Monday revealed that he has served notice of a constituency-wide demonstration to call on the appropriate authorities to do the needful.
According to Mr Sosu, the protest scheduled for October 18, is to demand government’s attention on the poor roads and drains in the area.
It comes after scores of residents at Oyarifa Green Hills, a suburb within the constituency, are reported to have been trapped in their homes by floodwaters for the past five days.
Children are unable to go to school because the floodwaters are yet to recede.
The affected residents observed that buildings in waterways and the absence of drains in the area, have made it almost impossible for floodwaters to recede even days after it rains.
However, the MCE of Nkwantanang said hitting the street to drum home the urgent need of infrastructural projects in Madina is not a prudent approach.
Taking a jibe at the legislator championing the protest, Madam Adjabeng said, “When you stand on platforms to make all the noise that when you go to parliament you will do [ABC] for the people and you do a quick ‘U’ turn to come and tell us that you are a lawmaker and not a development agent, then sorry it is laughable.”
She subsequently added, “Your colleagues in Parliaments are getting us asphalt roads, and they are standing on workers to supervise, instead of you to emulate that, you are on the street asking for a demonstration.”