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Parliament dragged to Supreme Court over Anti-LGBTQ+ bill


A journalist, Richard Dela Sky has filed a lawsuit against Parliament at the Supreme Court regarding the passage of the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

The controversial bill was unanimously passed by legislators on February 28, 2024, after years of deliberation.

Pressure is intensifying on President Akufo-Addo from Members of Parliament to sign the bill into law.

However, the President has already indicated that he will refrain from giving his assent until the court makes a pronouncement on the case.

The bill proposes a three-to-five-year jail term for individuals who promote or sponsor LGBTQ activities, while those caught in the act are to be sentenced to a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 3 years.

The reliefs sought by the journalist include an order restraining President Akufo-Addo from assenting to the bill and also preventing the “Speaker of Parliament and the Clerk to Parliament from presenting ‘The Human and Sexual Values Bill, 2024’ to the President of the Republic for his assent.”

According to the plaintiff, portions of the bill go contrary to the tenets of the 1992 Constitution for which reason it should be deemed null and void

The writ, filed on March 5, 2024, also pointed to the fact the sections of the legislation impose a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana.

The bill’s sponsors such as Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George believe no part of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill (Anti-LGBTQ Bill) infringes on the laws in the 1992 constitution.

Speaking on Newsfile on March 2, on Saturday, he pointed out that many individuals who oppose the bill by arguing that it contradicts the provisions of the 1992 constitution, have failed to specify the exact sections.

“This is a social issue and so Parliament is within the same Article 17.4 exercising its right that the constitution has conferred on us to deal with the social issue. It says for the matters relating to adoption, which is in this bill, marriage is in this bill, divorce, burial, and the evolution of property. But clearly, parliament has not acted ultra vires the constitution,” he said.

The Finance Ministry is raising concerns about the implications of President Akufo-Addo’s potential assent to the recently passed bill.

The Ministry outlined the negative implications of the document on its expenditure, key government plans, and projects and urged President Akufo-Addo to hold off on signing the bill into law as it may cost the country greatly.

These risks include a potential loss of $850 million in budgetary support from the World Bank this year alone.

In the 5-page document, the Ministry explained that “for 2024 Ghana will lose US$600 million Budget support and US$250 million for the Financial Stability Fund.”

“This will negatively impact Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore the country’s reserve position.

Over the next six years, the Ministry explained that “Ghana is likely to lose US$3.8 billion in World Bank Financing.”

Below is the full text of the World Bank implications projected by the Ministry;

i. The expected US$300 million financing from the First Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy (Operation Budget Support) which is currently pending Parliamentary approval might not be disbursed by the Bank when it is approved by Parliament.;

ii. On-going negotiations on the Second Ghana Resilient Recovery Development Policy Operation (Budget Support) amounting to US$300 million may be suspended:

iii. On-going negotiations for US$250 million to support the Ghana Financial Stability Fund
may be suspended;

iv. Disbursement of undisbursed amounts totalling US$2.1 billion for ongoing projects will be suspended; and

v. Preparation of pipeline projects and declaration of effectiveness for two projects totalling US$900 million may be suspended. Full details of the World Bank portfolio are attached as Appendix 1 & 2.

vi. In total, Ghana is likely to lose US$3.8 billion in World Bank Financing over the next five to six years. For 2024 Ghana will lose US$600 million in Budget support and US$250 million for the Financial Stability Fund. This will negatively impact Ghana’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate stability as these inflows are expected to shore up the country’s reserve position.

Some Members of Parliament are furious over the Finance Ministry’s advice to President Akufo-Addo.

For instance, MP for Sagnarigu, Alhassan Bashir Alhassan Fuseini, has urged Ghanaians to take action in support of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill.

The MP stated that the proposed legislation is crucial to upholding the country’s cultural values and independence from external influence.

Speaking to JoyNews on March 4, 2024, he said “Let’s rise up. I am telling you that the streets must be flooded. Everybody must be prepared on this matter, to come onto the streets. Thousands and millions of people must be prepared to flood the streets on this matter to protect our independence and sovereignty.

In addition to Mr Fuseini’s comments, the MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, also voiced his opinion on the issue.

Mr Suhuyini also pointed out that, there are countries with worse forms of punishment for people who engage in LGBTQ activities, but are doing well and have kept their relationships with other multilateral agencies.

“So I’m surprised that we are afraid that this law will isolate us and affect our relationship with these bilateral institutions. I think that if we rather remain forthright and remain proud of who we are and this law reflects who we are, then we’d be given the respect that we deserve and we will not in any way lose relationships that are mutually beneficial,” he said.

Meanwhile, a coalition of 18 civil society organisations has also pledged their support for this legal action.

The Coalition, also known as the ‘Big 18’, kicked against the legislation, arguing that it infringes on Ghana’s diverse cultural and religious landscape.

Board Chair of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Prof Audrey Gadzekpo, said “It’s an obnoxious bill.”

“It’s kind of like criminal libel, which the colonialists introduced, and we retained it. And it was used improperly against people, including journalists. We will come to find that this is like that,” she said.

The United States is warning of dire implications for the Ghanaian economy if the bill becomes law.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Pent Tv Limited.

Source: Myjoyonline

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