Ghana: President Akufo-Addo Delays Signing Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill Pending Supreme Court Verdict

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced his intention to withhold approval for anti-gay legislation until the Supreme Court delivers a verdict on its constitutionality. This decision follows a warning from the finance ministry regarding the potential loss of billions of dollars in World Bank funding should the bill be enacted.

The recently passed bill, which received parliamentary approval last week, introduces penalties of up to three years imprisonment for LGBTQ+ identification and five years for the promotion of LGBTQ+ activities. The legal challenge in the Supreme Court asserts that the bill lacked the required quorum during its passage.

Existing laws in Ghana already criminalize gay sex, punishable by a three-year prison term. The proposed legislation, named The Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, garnered support from both major political parties.

However, lawyer Richard Dela Sky, who filed the challenge, argues that the voting process did not meet parliamentary requirements. President Akufo-Addo, who previously expressed willingness to sign the bill based on public sentiment, now seeks to reassure the diplomatic community of Ghana’s commitment to human rights. He acknowledges concerns raised by international partners and emphasizes Ghana’s dedication to upholding human rights and the rule of law. The finance ministry disclosed that Ghana faces a potential loss of $3.8bn in World Bank funding over the next five to six years, adding to the country’s existing economic challenges. It is improbable that the Supreme Court will decide the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in December, as previous attempts by human rights groups to halt the bill were not addressed before the parliamentary vote. These elections mark the end of President Akufo-Addo’s two-term tenure, with Ghanaians poised to elect a new president.