Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister-designate for Information is proposing legislation against the advocacy and promotion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) activities in Ghana.
His proposal follows the current advocacy around the legalization of homosexuality in the country, with an office commissioned recently.
As such, the Ofoase/Ayirebi Legislator says the country needs to consider passing a law that tackles its promotion because the practice in itself is culturally unacceptable and goes contrary to section 104 of the Criminal Code, 1960.
“Customary law frowns on LGBT activities. People say despite the criminal code on the general position of customary law, it is just mere expression, they are just advocating for it but if you ask me about law and background, I will say that is when somebody like me will argue that then we should be able to contemplate legislation in the interest of public morality which will not be against the constitution but we will now say that you cannot advocate for and promote LGBT activities in this country,” he averred.
His comments follow the participation of the European Union (EU) in the opening of a new office space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer Intersex (LGBTQI) reiterating its supports for similar organizations in the country.
This the Minister Designate for Information stressed that the practice is alien to our customs and tradition and it is the reason why laws must be passed to deal with persons who advocates and promotes it practice in the country.
Oppong Nkrumah was responding to questions when he took his turn before Parliament’s Appointments Committee for vetting on Thursday February 18, 2021.
Meanwhile, the Ghana News Agency also reported from the same vetting that Information Minister-designate Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has underscored the need to protect the media because “they provide the sunlight that helps democracy.
Mr Nkrumah did not accept a suggestion from a member of the Appointments Committee that the Akufo-Addo Government is harassing the media.
The former broadcaster, re-nominated by President Akufo-Addo, to serve as the Minister of Information, at the beginning of his second term, stressed the need to protect the media and media practitioners, during his vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, at the Parliament House in Osu- Accra.
The work of the Appointments Committee of Parliament, currently chaired by Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Bekwai, is based on the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The Committee recommends to Parliament for approval or persons nominated by President for appointment as Minister of State, Deputy Minister, Members of Council of State, the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court and any other persons specified under the Constitution or under any other enactment.
During his vetting, the Information Minister-designate, who is also the MP for the Ofoase Ayirebi, said the administration of President Akufo-Addo, had not in any way harassed or penalized editors for their editorial opinions.
Rather, the Government has complied, against complaints from certain sections, with provisions that protect the media and would expand the frontiers of press freedom.
Mr Nkrumah answered questions on attacks on journalists, and said the shutting down of some radio stations, which was perceived as attack on the media, was not the case.
In May 2019, the National Communications Authority (NCA), the broadcasting and telecommunication frequency regulator in Ghana, shut down Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, both based in Accra which are aligned to the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
But the Minister Designate explained that that those stations were not closed down to demand license to operate, but were shut down because their authorization that granted them spectrum had expired.
The matter went to the National Communications Tribunal which ruled against the stations.“We encouraged them to reapply,” the Information Minister Designate said.
On attacks on Ghanaian journalists, Mr Nkrumah stated that there is a need to validate any report of attack to establish the journalists was attacked in the line of duty.
Such validation, he said would ensure a proper follow-up and investigation.
He informed the Committee that he was in communication with the Interior Minister on the investigation into the death of undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein Suale.
The Minister made a strong case for continuous existence of the Information Ministry, and explained that the work of the sector Minister was different from that of the President’s Press Secretary.
Whereas the Press Secretary focused on activities of the Office of the President, there is the need for free flow of available information from the Government to the people to help the running of the country’s democracy.
“The Government must have an opportunity to update the people on its activities,” “the Minister Designate said, adding that the Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals stressed stronginstitutions, for which there must be strong information machinery.
“You need a bigger machinery to channel information to the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” the Minister Designate said.