Legislators who sponsored the harsh anti-LGBTQ bill currently awaiting action in Ghana’s Parliament are seeking to whip up homophobia in their constituencies in order to win re-election.
That’s the conclusion that the LGBTQ rights group Rightify Ghana draws from a recent allegations in the Anchor newspaper about “homosexual cash” in local political campaigns.
The newspaper splashed the headline “Homosexual cash hits anti-gay MPs’ constituencies” on its front page. But the related article offers little support for that declaration. It’s loaded with phrases such as:
- “The Anchor is informed”
- “according to information”
- “unknown individuals were also said to have”
- “speculations are rife that …”
Also: “This paper cannot independently confirm, but there are fears that, if care is not taken, the LGBT+ community, which is financially strong, may use other means to entice aspirants and delegates of the election to vote against the MP.”
The article’s primary focus was on raising money for Samuel George, a member of parliament who has been a prominent backer of the anti-LGBTQ bill.
Because of alleged anti-George financing, The Anchor stated, “Ghanaians, especially the Christian community, Muslims and all those who back the bill in parliament, are being called upon to lean massive support to the MP and all his other colleagues to ensure they remain in Parliament so they can ensure the smooth passage of the bill into law.”
A more extreme homophobic claim came from Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, another member of parliament supporting the anti-LGBTQ bill, who declared that LGBTQ Ghanaians are seeking to kill backers of the bill.
At a school scholarhip event, he said that “the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) community is after the lives of individuals pushing for the anti-homosexuality law in Ghana,” MyGhanaMedia reported. He said that “killing him and his fellows is the surest way the homosexuals would get them out of their way to push the Ghanaian society to accept the ‘sinful’ behaviour.”
Rightify Ghana explained the motivation of those homophobic provocations, calling the anti-gay agenda “a political tool to bolster legitimacy, increase popularity and distract from pressing issues at their constituencies.”
The group noted that homophobic tactics have a long history, quoting from a 2014 scholarly analysis of “The Political Use of Homophobia”:
“Homophobia is deliberately fomented by political actors (often presidents and ministers – and not only in Africa) as soon as they get into a legitimacy crisis. In particular in economic crises, in which public criticism of abuses of power, excessive corruption, patronage and clientism by a small ruling elite begins to increase, heads of state and high-ranking politicians reach for the cudgel of homophobia and use it to attack people of different sexual orientation and/or gender identity vociferously in the regime-friendly media.”The Anchor: