Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has stated that the veiled threats of withdrawing investments and international aid have not deterred Africa’s efforts to safeguard its culture, values, and societal norms, as well as the future of its youth.
According to a statement issued by the Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament and copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Speaker made the remarks during a meeting with members of the British House of Lords and House of Commons at Westminster in London.
It stated that the law passed in Uganda recently on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex (LGBTQI) phenomenon, as well as the bill on Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values currently before Ghana’s Parliament, were of concern to British Members of Parliament.
Speaker Bagbin explained that once a group of people are in agreement on what constitutes human rights, values and principles, they moved on; “what was required is alignment and understanding of their context.”
He told his hosts that Parliament’s role was to receive bills from civil society or interest groups, usually through the Private Member’s Bill process, or from the executive.
Parliament then goes through the processes and procedures outlined in its Standing Orders and in accordance with Ghana’s Constitution.
“There is nothing untoward; nothing wrong with the efforts by Parliament to legislate on the promotion of human sexual rights and family values in Ghana, using our constitution as a compass,” he said.
In response to a question about the President’s role in the bill in question, the Speaker insisted that Ghana’s Parliament had the mandate and the capability to legislate on the subject and would not tolerate any interference from the Executive.
He explained that the role of the President was to assent to bills submitted by Parliament, however, final legislative powers rest with the legislature, not the Executive.
“Ghana’s democracy is based on the rule of law, not the rule of man,” he noted.
He said the Legislature had engaged in very wide and broad consultations whilst working on the Promotion of Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill.
Members of the Select Committee working on it had held consultations in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, European Union (EU) and Canada, among others, for a deeper appreciation of the issues at stake.
The Speaker said the Committee had received and considered about 400 memoranda on the issue and granted audience to many advocacy groups, professional associations, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society groups.
The approach to this Bill had been to “think global and act local,” he stated.
Mr Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, Clerk to Parliament; Mr Ebenezer Djietror, Assistant Clerk; and Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey, Legal Counsel to the Speaker, Mr Gayheart Mensah, Director of the Speaker’s Communication Team, and Mr Charles Dery Tenzagh, Deputy Director of Parliamentary Relations, were present at the meeting with Speaker Bagbin.
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