Homosexuality not on Ghana's agenda - President Akufo-Addo

| Updated Nov 27, 2017 at 7:18am


President Akufo-Addo talks to Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton


President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says legalizing homosexuality is not something his government is considering.

He said the social and cultural environment in Ghana, does not give room for this to be done.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking in an interview with, Al Jazeera's Jane Dutton on series of National, Continental and Global issues.

Asked why homosexuality remained a criminal offence in Ghana, the president said, “I don't believe that in Ghana so far a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged which is having that impact of public opinion that will say, change it; let’s then have a new paradigm in Ghana.”

He adds that like in other parts of the world, it will take the activities of groups and individuals to try bringing it up for discussion.

“At the moment, I don’t feel and I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying that this is something that we need even deal with. It is not so far a matter which is on the agenda.”

A lawyer by profession, President Akufo-Addo recounted his days as a young boy in England where homosexuality was banned and illegal, a time when politicians thought it was an anathema to be homosexual saying he believed the same processes will bring about changes.

“I grew up in England at the time that homosexuality was banned there. It was illegal and I lived a period where British politicians thought it was an item not to even think about.

"But suddenly the activities of individuals and groups, a certain awareness, a certain development grew and grew stronger and it forced a change in law. I believe that those are the same processes that will bring about changes in our situation,” he said.

Although there are no specific laws against homosexuality in Ghana, the country frowns on all sexual acts it deems "unnatural".

Chapter 6 of the Criminal Code, 1960, as amended by the Criminal Code Act, 2003, cautions against unnatural carnal knowledge.

Section 104 states “whoever has unnatural carnal knowledge of (a) any person of the age of sixteen years or over without his consent shall be guilty of a first degree felony and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years; or (b) of any person of sixteen years or over with his consent is guilty of a misdemeanor; or (c) of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Homosexuals in Ghana are therefore unable to express their sexuality in public, and their calls to law makers to amend the law to make provision for them have been ignored.

This is perhaps because majority of people in the country, who are mostly religious, still see this as an abomination.

In a response to what will make this happen and if he will support it, the president was of the view that, it will take the activities of individuals, groups and public opinion to make it happen.

He cited examples in other parts of the world where activities of these individuals or groups towards the legalization of homosexuality drove the change in laws, adding when the country gets there, a decision will be taken but for now there is no such support.

Below is the full interview on Aljazeera's Talk to Al Jazeera, hosted by Jane Dutton.