President John Evans Atta Mills and members of Ghana's parliament are outraged after British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that foreign aid should be decreased to countries that do not respect gay rights.
Officials and religious leaders in the West African nation have compared the suggestion to colonialism and "oppression", reports Radio Netherlands Worldwide Africa.
Reverend George Asante, the head pastor of the Christian Messengers Church in Ghana’s second largest city Kumasi, opposes the UK premier’s ideas. "Homosexuality is wrong on so many levels. From a constitutional and religious point of view it is illegal and must never be tolerated," he says. Ghanaian law does indeed prohibit the practice of homosexuality, which makes it difficult for gay people to express themselves.
Cameron’s threats haven’t impressed President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana. Cameron said that "British aid should have more strings attached… While we appreciate all the financial assistance and aid which has been given to us by our development partners, we will not accept any aid with strings attached if that aid doesn’t serve our interests."
Reverend Asante [believes] that “Ghanaians must resist every form of oppression even if it means economic sanctions. Historically we have never condoned homosexuality, which is why Ghana’s constitution makes sure that any form of unnatural sex isn’t legalised.” But [the] constitution of Ghana doesn’t explicitly mention homosexuality.
RNWA quoted one gay Ghanaian who supported sanctions. But many other African LGBT and human rights groups have publicly distanced themselves from Cameron's position.
Several MPs said "to hell with their aid," reports Ghana's MyJoyOnline.
"When it (gay) became a topical issue, we made one of our members to make a statement condemning it and unanimously, across both divides, we said never shall we ever pass a law in the Parliament of Ghana [promoting gay rights]," Gershon Gbediame, Majority Chief Whip has told Myjoyonline.com.
Gbediame ... asked Ghanaians, especially, Christians to remain firm behind the government in the fight against gay rights to avoid the wrath of God visiting us.
"When you come to Ghana you will know that Ghana is richly blessed, so much, there is no need why we should bow and kowtow to people like Cameron, Obama to say that if you don’t pass gay rights we are not going to give you any aid; to hell with their aid, we shall not, shall not sell our birthright, we believe in the word of God, we shall not go contrary to the word of God...we are prepare to go hungry."
UK Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement at the recent 54-nation Commonwealth meeting in Australia in response to soaring HIV rates in the global south. A number of African leaders have criticized the suggestion and Britain apparently is backpedaling.
Recent months have seen an increase in anti-gay rhetoric coning from elected officials and media in the West African nation. Last summer, President Mills denounced homosexuality and the Western Region Minister announced the "immediate arrest of all homosexuals."
More than 100 African-based activists and organizations issued a statement criticizing Cameron's suggestion on the eve of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Many activists from Cameroon, Nigeria and other African nations have said that anti-gay persecution has escalated in recent months as a result of Cameron's threat.
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