Historical antecedents of the practice of homosexuality in Ghana dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries when male slaves served as concubines in Asante courts.
The vast number of the indigenous Ghanaian people hold sentiments against the passing of LGBT rights. Homophobic remarks and ostracism are the commonest ways of resentment people demonstrate against same-sex sexual intercourse, especially gayism. The practice has been condemned innumerably by a myriad of people in the court of public opinion and even by political and religious leaders.
Mention can be made of the late H. E. Prof. John Evans Atta Mills when he condemned any attempts of inducing the government of Ghana by the western world to pass LGBT rights in Ghana. The former President is caught on tape to have said that “any attempts to legalize homosexuality in Ghana. As a government, we will abide by the principles enshrined in our Constitution which Constitution is supreme. Let me also say that whiles we acknowledge all the financial assistance and all the aid which has been given to us by our development partners, we will not accept any aid with strings attached, if that aid will inure to our interests or the implementation or the utilization of that aid with strings attached, would rather worsen our plight as a nation or destroy the very society that we want to use the money to improve.”
The Minister designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection in her vetting on Thursday, 18th February 2021, said LGBTQI is criminal, non-negotiable per our Laws.
Institutions of government such as the police and district assemblies are sometimes complicit in the act of meting out brutalities to practitioners of same-sex sexual intercourse. A classical example says, “in mid-September 2009, the District Chief Executive in my town called me for a meeting…I was taken to the conference room and made to sit in the middle of about 50 people. They asked me if I was a lesbian, and I said no. One police officer kicked me with his boot on my mouth, said I shouldn’t talk. I started bleeding. Then everybody started to beat me. They took me outside, dragging me and beating me at the same time. A youthful boy put a car tire around my neck and poured petrol over my body, ready to burn me. The pastor said I should confess everything before I die”. — Pearl, 30-year-old woman, January 2017, Kumasi, Ghana.
The position of the Ghanaian law is very clear on LGBT but has been subjected to criticisms. Section 104 of the Criminal Code, 1960 (Act 29) (1) Whoever has unnatural carnal knowledge – (a) of any person of the age of sixteen years or over without his consent shall be guilty of a first degree felony and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years; or (b) of any person of sixteen years or over with his consent is guilty of a misdemeanor; or (c) of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(2) Unnatural carnal knowledge is sexual intercourse with a person in an unnatural manner or with an animal. This provision clearly exculpates females in the the act of same-sex sexual intercourse from crime. This was in 2013 argued by one John Ndebugri Esq that since females do not have a penis, and cannot penetrate, the act of lesbianism which constitutes homosexuality does not amount to unnatural carnal knowledge, based on section 104 of the Criminal Code.
Author: Salvius Naalongboma Beni,
University of Professional Studies, Accra.