Speaking on Aljazeera’s ‘Talk to Al Jazeera’ programme hosted by Jane Dutton Al-Jazeera during the president’s recent visit to Qatar, he said that the issue of homosexuality is a “socio-cultural issue.”
To that extent, the president said that there is no sufficient reason to warrant the legalization of homosexuality.
According to him, legalizing homosexuality is not something his government is considering.
“This is a social, cultural issue. At the moment, I don’t feel, I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying this is something we need to deal with. It is not so far a matter that is on the agenda,” he pointed out.
In most parts of the western world, gay and lesbian rights are enforced and same-sex marriages are legal. In Africa however, homosexuality is still a vexed issue and the customs and traditions of most African societies abhor homosexuality. In recent times, some western governments have sought to tie aid to the condition that African governments legalise homosexuality. This has continued to face stiff resistance from African governments and people.
In response to a question as to why homosexuality is still outlawed in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said, “It is not part of our socio-cultural framework and therefore it is not a matter that is even to be considered.”
There are sections of the population who however think that the president’s answer was not a definitive rejection of the idea of legalising homosexuality.
But speaking to reporters, Minister for Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, who doubles as the president’s spokesperson, explained that law is a product of culture and therefore laws cannot be enacted outside the cultural framework.
This, according to the minister, is what the president meant by homosexuality is “a socio-cultural issue.”
Explaining further, Mr Abdul-Hamid said that it is the reason why law is called “mmra” in Twi. “Oman’ is nation and ‘mmra’ is law. But a combination of the two, which gives you ‘amanmere’ or ‘omannmra’ also means custom. So in answering a question on homosexuality, the president had to necessarily make reference to custom. And to the extent that our customs do not allow homosexuality, no president can legislate against the customs of the people,” Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said.
Responding further to the criticism that the president said that he envisages a future where homosexuality may be lawful, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid explained that customs evolve and therefore the president could not have said categorically that there would never be a period in the future when homosexuality may become an issue.
The minister for information said that there was a period in history when alcohol was a banned substance in most of the western world. But today alcohol is consumed freely and liberally.
“It is therefore only reasonable to say that there could come a time when homosexuality will not be such an anathema. Even customs evolve and therefore we cannot be sure if the evolution of custom will not make homosexuality an issue in the future,” he added.
Homosexuality remains a taboo subject in most African countries and homosexuals cannot openly declare their sexual orientation.