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Humanists have expressed their outrage at a call to “get rid” of gays in Ghana. Paul Evans Aidoo, the government minister for the Western Region of Ghana, reportedly told the Joy FM radio station in Accra that: “All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in society.”  Aidoo, a devout Roman Catholic, went on to call for the Bureau of National Investigations to round up all gays and called on landlords and tenants to inform on people they suspect of being homosexual. “Once they have been arrested, they will be brought before the law.”

Ghana is one of 38 African countries where homosexual sex is illegal. But homosexuals are usually only prosecuted in Ghana if they are caught in a homosexual act.  Aidoo went beyond the existing law when he called for his government’s intelligence agency to track down and arrest anyone suspected of homosexuality.  

Aidoo’s call for a roundup of gays came during Ghana’s general election campaign. It follows months of anti-gay campaigning by the Christian Council of Ghana. And it came just days after a Christian Council press conference called for Christians to “vote out lawmakers who show support for homosexuals”.

Aidoo’s stand has drawn support from other politicians in Ghana. Bernard Mornah, the general secretary of the People’s National Convention, said: “Homosexuality is abhorrent. Media discourse across the world is being dictated by the vulgar opinions of homosexuals. Ghana and probably Africa cannot sustain the menace of homosexuals.”

 “The situation for LGBT people in African states seems to be going from bad to worse and, as in the rest of the world, it is clear that much of the hostility they face stems from religious teachings. Examples are the Anglican Church of Uganda’s support for the Anti-Homosexual Bill and the Anglican Church of Nigeria’s support for a similar bill,” said George Broadhead, secretary of the gay Humanist group the Pink Triangle Trust. “By contrast, African Humanists, such as Leo Igwe in Nigeria and George Thindwa in Malawi, have spoken out bravely in support of gay rights. The worldwide Humanist movement, represented by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, deserves to be recognised as an unequivocal supporter of LGBT rights.”

Leo Igwe, the International Humanist and Ethical Union’s representative in West Africa, added that religious groups from outside Africa were supporting the hate campaigns in many African countries. “Many Africans falsely claim that homosexuality has been imported from the West,” said Igwe. “But the truth is that many of these gay-bashing campaigns are receiving political and financial support from religious groups in the US and Europe– for example, American evangelicals encouraged Uganda’s move to make gay sex a capital crime — and it is often left to Africans to fight against these well-funded bigots.” 

–Matt Cherry

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