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Akufo-Addo approved E-levy amid a lawsuit, why not anti-LGBTQ+Bill? – Sam George quizzes

Sam George

Lead sponsor of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, Sam George, is not convinced that President Akufo-Addo is genuinely not assenting to the controversial bill because of a pending legal challenge at the Supreme Court. The Prampram lawmaker believes that the President is merely seeking cover behind that so-called lawsuit not to assent to the bill.

Speaking on JoyFM’s Top Story on March 5, he explained that from previous experiences such as the Electronic Transaction Levy, despite a suit pending at the time, the President still assented to it with the explanation that if the Supreme Court ruled against it, the law would be void.

Therefore, for President Akufo-Addo to say he would wait on a court ruling before he decides whether or not to assent to the bill shows that he did not support it in the first place, Mr George argued. He further argued that the anti-LGBTQ+ bill was one that the nation supports; therefore, if the President assented to it despite the court action, he would have been lauded.

“The President is being the puppet master here with a few other players in here. The President is trying to find an excuse not to sign but again you want to find out if the President is being principled or not. There was a court case on the passage of the e-levy. “The Supreme Court was yet to rule on the matter. The president’s principled position was that he was going to proceed and if the Supreme Court ruled against it then that law would be invalidated,” he said.

He continued that “Even the constitution, portions of it have been invalidated by the ruling of the Supreme Court, and so the question here is even e-levy the President decided to proceed without waiting for the ruling from the Supreme Court. On the case of Domelevo, the president decided to proceed and act without waiting for the Supreme Court to rule.

“How is it that on this one, a matter that the whole of Ghana [supports] irrespective of ethnicity or religion or social standing, the President thinks that on this one, he wants to wait for the Supreme Court even though the Supreme Court has given some level of precedence relative to what they will do. We will submit the document to them before the end of the week God willing.” Meanwhile, the Ningo Prampram MP said his next action would be to suggest to other co-sponsors of the bill to bring it back to Parliament if the President announces that he would not assent. He added that this way it would be put to a 2/3rd majority vote.

“We would put this to the test. I cannot speak with authority on this. This is my personal opinion on the matter. Bear in mind, that I am not the only sponsor of the bill. There are eight of us, and we have a coalition we have worked with. We are going to take a stance on this, but my personal position and default position will be that we will bring it back to Parliament if the President indicates that he will not sign after the seven-day period.”

“If he writes to us and says he is not going to sign because he is waiting for the court, so be it. We will explore the option of bringing it back before the house and putting it to a 2/3rd vote,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo has reassured the international community of Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights despite the passage of the bill. Addressing concerns during a diplomatic engagement on March 4, the President emphasised that Ghana remains steadfast in its long-standing reputation for respecting human rights and adherence to the rule of law.

He clarified that the Bill is facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court and that until a decision is arrived at, no action would be taken by his government on the private Member’s bill.

On Tuesday, March 5, a journalist cum lawyer, Richard Dela Sky filed a lawsuit against Parliament at the Supreme Court regarding the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill. 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.”

Speaking on the same show, Associate Professor at the Ghana Law School, Prof Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua described certain portions of the writ as premature. “The writ in some part of it seems premature with regard to the section or the portion that deals with trying to say that the President should not assent to the bill because it contains certain violations of rights and therefore not in conformity with the constitution. That seems to be a weak argument there.

“Even though if we go to article 2, it says an act and what Parliament has done could also be considered an act as in a small ‘a’ but not capital A,” he said.

By: Connielove Mawutornyo Dzodzegbe

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