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Parliament must be interested in the reformation of homosexuals – Ekow Assafuah

Vincent Ekow Assafuah

The Deputy Minister-designate for the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Vincent Ekow Assafuah, has urged Parliament to be more interested in the reformation process of homosexuals than dishing out punishment to them. According to him, it was Parliament’s responsibility to ensure the reformation and integration of homosexuals back into society.

He said although he is in support of the passage of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill, he believes that merely ostracising homosexuals from society is not the solution. Sharing his views on the bill during his vetting by Parliament’s Appointment’s Committee in Accra on Monday, March 11, 2024, Mr Assafuah said the bill was in consonance with his formation as a catholic person, hence pledging his support for it.

“In principle, the LGBTQ bill that has been passed or approved by Parliament is one that I support wholeheartedly because it is in consonance with my tradition and culture. It is in consonance with my formation as a catholic person or practising catholic,” he stated.

The controversial legislation which prohibits lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activities and criminalises their promotion, advocacy, and funding in the country, was unanimously passed by Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, after three long years since it was introduced on the floor of parliament.

The anti-LGBTQ bill if assented to by the President will, among other things, impose sanctions on willful promotion and engaging in LGBTQ activities in the country.

The bill proscribed a minimum sentence of six months and maximum three years for persons caught in the act of same-sex activities.

However, persons found guilty of willful promotion or advocating or funding the activities of LGBTQ will, upon conviction, face three years minimum and five years maximum imprisonment.

Mr Assafuah, however said, he was against the punishment to be meted out to people who will find themselves at the wrong side of the anti-LGBTQ+ law.

“There are reasons for punishment to be meted out to people. There is a principle behind punishment and one of the principles is to ensure that a person is being reformed out of a criminal activity. And so, if we have to reform persons, do we have to mete out punishment that seems to ostracise the person from society? It seems that as a society, we are bringing out our failures in the sense that we are showing our inability or incapacity to be able to reform people or if you like put people through sessions that reintroduce such persons into society. If we are not able to do so. That is where I see the failure,” he explained.

“It seems we are throwing our hands in despair. I am making a strong point that as a Parliament, we should be very interested in reforming our people. That is our responsibility as a people. We cannot say that there is a supposed anticipation of gay persons being lynched if they are given community service and so because of that as the people’s representatives we are throwing our hands in despair to allow such persons just to go astray.

“That cannot be our course. Let’s have a proper forum, let’s have proper engagements to see how best we can deal with such persons. It is our responsibility to do so,” Mr Assafuah stated.

By: Getrude Ankah Nyavi

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