West African LGBTQ+ rights activist Davis Mac-Iyalla was attacked over the weekend as he took part in a ceremony installing him as a chief in central Ghana.
At the time of the attack, he was being carried aloft in a palanquin. A group of youths overturned it, sending Mac-Iyalla toward the ground.
“Trying to throw me off the palanquin was an assassination attempt,” Mac-Iyalla stated. “I did not fall. They attempted to kill me but failed. How can I fall from the palanquin when I was sitting down?”
He called the assault a “pure violent homophobic attack.”
During the ceremony, Mac-Iyalla was installed as Amankorehen of the Yamonransa Nkusukum Traditional Area in the Central Region of Ghana. It is a position.
The Ghanaian publication Graphic Online explained that “the Amankorehen is the development chief who usually promotes activities that accelerate the development of an area . It is usually given to persons and even foreigners who have contributed to the development of a community.”
Mac-Iyalla is a Nigerian native who moved to Ghana from England to work for the LGBTQ+-friendly Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA).
He stated that as Amankorehen he would battle for human rights. The ceremony was attended by several traditional chiefs.
Mac-Iyalla wasn’t the only person who described the assault as motivated by homophobia.
One observer stated that Mac-Iyalla “supports human rights which includes LGBTQ++ and the youths were displeased so they deliberately ousted him from the palanquin. The whole town is against him for taking that stand on this subject.”
The effects of the attack were made worse by intense media coverage.
The LGBTQ+ rights group Rightify Ghana stated:
It’s January 31, 2023 and it’s still dangerous to be identified as LGBTQI+ person or activist in Ghana. A prominent activist, Davis Mac-Iyalla, who lives in Ghana, is currently facing an attack which has put his life in danger. … the framing of the story by the media has focused on his work as an LGBTQI+ human rights defender and this has led to verbal lynching in both traditional and new media space. As someone who always opened his doors to welcome all persons, he is not safe at his home.
I am not okay,. It’s been a national attack because of the media. I feel very unsafe.
The media and their homophobic spin has exposed me to great danger, I am now taking my security very seriously. I also don’t feel safe in Ghana anymore.
My case has made it very clear that traditional and religious leaders in Africa still have a long way to go as related to the human rights of LGBTIQ people.
Mac-Iyalla expressed his thanks to police for their response after the attack.
The police did a very good job protecting me on the day of the ceremony. When the police saw that people wanted to harm me, they doubled their number and made sure everything went well.
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Source: African Human Rights Media Network member Erasing 76 Crimes.