Every week there’s a new topic that Ghanaians are fussing over. If Moesha is not making headlines with her legendary intellect, Patapaa is getting arrested by the fashion police for his “killer” suit at the VGMAs. Or wannabe gangsta 419 Shatta Wale is privately receiving slaps from his baby mama at home while publicly claiming to be a “hard guy”. All these come and go, but one topic that always manages to creep back into the news is the issue of homosexuality.
It has become one of the favorite topics of Ghanaians and they just can’t seem to ignore it when it comes up. Not too long ago President Akufo-Addo came under massive fire for not categorically declaring his stance against homosexuality during an interview on Al Jazeera when he hinted that if a considerable number of Ghanaians push for its legalization, his government would be obliged to comply. Ghanaians were as usual quick to display their homophobia and remind the world that they are not ready to embrace a culture of tolerance.
No less a person than the Speaker of Parliament Prof. Mike Oquaye came out to proudly declare that parliamentarians are just as homophobic as the public that elected them and therefore Ghanaians should rest assured that they were never going to legalize homosexuality under any circumstances. This obviously didn’t go down well with the UN, and they have given their response. The United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Prof. Philip Alston, speaking in an interview after undertaking a Human Rights fact-finding visit to Ghana to assess government efforts to eradicating poverty, Prof. Alston said Prof. Oquaye’s comment is a sign of delusion because the number of gay people in Ghana is quite significant. “I believe that if he thinks there is not a very significant proportion of gay people in Ghana, he is deluding himself. You cannot wish away a physical fact. The percentage of gay people in any population is significant… I don’t think it is appropriate for politicians to publicly align themselves with hateful positions against any other population…I think if he comes out and says that people with a certain kind of sexual orientation are not allowed to be themselves in this country that is equally unacceptable, that is what human rights are all about,” Prof. Alston said while speaking to Starr News’ Daniel Nii Lartey.