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Yielding to external pressure makes nonsense of our independence – National Chief Imam’s Spokesperson

Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu

The Spokesperson of the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, has expressed concerns about external pressure influencing critical national decisions. Addressing the issue of LGBTQ+ activities on JoyNews’ PM Express, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu asserted that succumbing to such external pressure would undermine the essence of Ghana’s independence, which will coincidentally be commemorated today [Wednesday], March 6 after 67 years.

Highlighting the sentiments of the majority of Ghanaians who view gay and lesbian activities as objectionable, Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu emphasised the collective rejection of these activities with strength, might, and a deep sense of spirituality as a nation. “In my view, it makes complete nonsense of our independence. Ghana will be marking its 67th year of independence on the 6th of March as a nation. 67 years!”

His assertion comes amidst the United States warning of dire implications for the Ghanaian economy after Parliament enacted the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill popularly known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill. Refusing to yield to external pressure, Sheikh Shaibu underscored the religious foundation of the country, noting that the constitution, national anthem, and the pledge all reference the Almighty God, making LGBTQ+ activities inconsistent with the beliefs of the Ghanaian people.

“And the majority of the people in our country see these gay and lesbian activities as something opprobrious that we must all reject with all the strength and the might and the spirit as a nation that has a deep sense of God,” he said on Tuesday. Sheikh Shaibu questioned the true nature of Ghana’s independence, expressing worry that external influences challenge the nation’s ability to make decisions by its citizens’ concerns, feelings, and beliefs.

He touched on the sacrifices of Ghana’s forebears in the fight for independence, pointing to recent commemorations like the 28th February Crossroad Shooting, and questioned the purpose of celebrating such historical events if the nation cannot autonomously determine its course.

“Now it is not even about our concerns, feelings, and beliefs as citizens of this country, but because of a certain pressure from outside which didn’t begin today is trying to influence us. This shows that as a nation we are not truly independent as we claim and it must be a worry for every citizen in this country.

The spokesperson urged every citizen to reflect on the implications of external pressure on the country’s decision-making, emphasising that true independence should allow Ghana to shape its destiny without undue influence from external sources. Parliament on Wednesday, February 28, unanimously passed the Anti-LGBTQ+ bill following the completion of the third reading.

The anti-LGBTQ+ Bill has been a topic of intense debate and discussion since it was introduced to the legislature three years ago. While proponents argued that it is necessary to uphold cultural and religious values, opponents argued that portions of the Bill violate human rights and promote discrimination.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry is urging the President to engage stakeholders including faith-based organisations to communicate the bill’s implications. Aside from that, it called for effective engagement with conservative countries including Arab countries and China.

Already, some human rights groups in Ghana have threatened to head to the Supreme Court if President Akufo-Addo signs the bill for it to become law. There are currently two lawsuits before the Supreme Court against the bill, and the President has indicated the need to wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court action before he takes action on the bill.

By: Ama Cromwell

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