A Deputy Communications during former President John Mahama-led administration, Felix Kwakye Ofosu, says President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo must apologize to the people of Ghana for his failure to defend them during an interview on legalizing homosexuality.
Mr Kwakye Ofosu said there are overwhelming Ghanaians who are against homosexuality so for the President, who promised to hold the dignity of this country, to refuse to be emphatic on the position of the country on the matter indicates he has betrayed the nation.
President Akufo-Addo was on Al Jazeera’s Talk to Al Jazeera on Sunday to talk about a wide range of issues concerning the African continent and Ghana. Among the issues were happenings in Togo, Zimbabwe and Kenya. He was also quizzed on Donald J. Trump.
The interview, which was conducted by Al Jazeera presenter, Jane Dutton, had a question on why homosexuality is illegal in Ghana.
In an answer to the question, President Akufo-Addo said “this is the socio-cultural issue if you like…I don’t believe that in Ghana, so far, a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact on public opinion that will say: ‘Change it [the law], let’s then have a new paradigm in Ghana.
I grew up in England; I went to school as a young boy in England and I grew up at a time in England when homosexuality was banned there, it was illegal and I lived in the period when British politicians thought it was anathema to think about changing the law and suddenly the activities of individuals, of groups, a certain awareness, a certain development grew and grew and grew stronger and it forced a change in law.
I believe those are the same processes that will bring about changes in our situation.
At the moment, I don’t feel and I don’t see that in Ghana, there is that strong current of opinion that will say: ‘This is something that we need even deal with’. It’s not, so far, a matter which is on the agenda.”
But reacting to the President’s comments on TV3’s New Day hosted by Bright Nana Amfoh on Monday, Mr. Kwakye Ofosu said: “Leaders are expected to represent the people, especially when you travel outside but he did not speak well in that instance”. “He did not cover himself.
He did not defend the position of Ghanaians and what we need is an apology and not defend his position,” the National Democratic Congress (NDC) member explained.
He said “overwhelming [number of] Ghanaians have stated their position against it therefore the president is bound by the people of Ghana to defend them but he did not defend the position on the matter”.
The former Deputy Communications Minister said “we are not barbaric like persons who go about torturing those who are involved in it but we are against it and that is why there is widespread anger against the president over the position”.
Mr. Kwakye Ofosu said the President’s position is a mark of a U-turn because some members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have openly spoken and kicked against it.
“It marks a sudden U-turn because some people in Parliament held press conference to kick against it. The Speaker of Parliament also spoke against it so why is the President afraid to maintain it?”
The Member of Parliament for Effutu Constituency in the Central Region, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin, said the culture of Ghana forbids homosexuality but no one can victimize those who are involved.
He said “our culture does not support same-sex marriage but if someone is involved, can you report him to the police, or can you force him or antagonize him?”
The NPP MP said: “I don’t think that [the President] has introduced any controversy because we do not subscribe to same-sex relationships but if somebody has that orientation, he is a man and wants to have relationship with fellow man…what can you do to the person?”
He added that “if it gets to a stage where Ghanaians would want to discuss it whether or not the laws must be changed, that is also another matter”.
“However, if the same Ghanaians decide to think that there is nothing wrong in having open relationship, it is up to us”.
Mr. Afenyo-Markin noted that “even the Catholic Church in Europe could not sustain the same sex opposition pressure when the state imposed on them”.
“Do you deny the fact that we have a lot of same-sex relationship in Ghana?” the MP asked.