The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has told the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin that he cannot make predetermination for the House in relation to the anti-gay bill which is currently before the legislature.
The Suame Member of Parliament explained at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday October 12 that the Speaker is not a lawmaker hence, does not have the powers to make any determination in this matter.
At best, he said, he can make a referral to Parliament which will be programmed by the business committee for consideration.
The Speaker had said that he is pro-life therefore parliament will pass the bill as soon as possible.
“Ghanaians have spoken with one voice. I sit here as Speaker of Ghana, I represent Ghanaians and the country Ghana. We have spoken with one voice that we don’t want anything to do with whatever things they add,” he said in an earlier engagement.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told journalists that “If I heard right, the Speaker was even saying that the bill is going to be passed but I have a little bit of challenge with that. Technically the speaker is not even a Member of Parliament, the speaker cannot commit Parliament. 7
“The Speaker can make a referral to Parliament which will be programmed by the business committee for consideration. I will find it difficult if we have a speaker who will in spite of his own antecedent as former Member of Parliament to say that Parliament is going to pass the bill. It is a bit of a difficulty.
“I am not saying that parliament is not going to pass the bill but the speaker should not make a predetermination for the house because he is not a member of parliament and this is the business of parliament.”
He further stated that in principle, no lawmaker is against the antigay bill which is currently before parliament.
“In principle, I am not sure any Member of Parliament will be against the principle of this bill. I am an African, I am a Ghanaian , an Ashanti, Kwabre man and I have my own values.
“I have my own upbringing, one that is shaped by my tradition and upbringing. As I have said along the line, I am Christian, I was born into Assemblies of God church so my faith also impacts on my upbringing. But that is not the only thing that shapes my upbringing,
“That is why I am saying, and I refer to the first provision in Chapter 11 of the Constitution which is Article 125 when it says that justice emanates from the people .
“We have our concept of what is right and what is wrong, I don’t know of any ethnic group of this country that will applaud this.”
The controversial anti-gay bill which is currently before parliament has already divided opinion in the Ghanaian public discourse.
While some, particularly the religious and traditional groupings, have supported the Bill and hopeful of its passing, others say it could incur the wrath of the international community against Ghana.
For instance, a private legal practitioner Mr Akoto Ampaw has said the way and manner the bill has been designed indicates the extremism of the mind frame that produced it.
He is totally against the bill and wants it abandoned.
“The fact that the bill goes to that extent of criminalizing somebody who is an intersex or criminalizing somebody who is asexual, this is a meaningless project, shows the extremism of the mind frame that produced that bill,” he said on TV3’s Key Points with Dzifa Bampoh on Saturday October 9.