June 14, 2024
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Anti-LGBTQ+ bill: It’s premature to go to court when the bill isn’t law- Rockson Dafeamekpor

Co-sponsor of the anti-LGBTQ+ bill, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor has described the attempt by Civil Society Organisations to challenge the newly passed Anti-LGBTQ+ bill as premature.

According to him, until the bill is assented into law, there is no basis on which it can be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Speaking on JoyFM’s Newsnight on March 4, he explained that challenging a bill in court would imply that the basis for which it is contested is more about a declaration of intent rather than a matter of law.

The South Dayi MP clarified that if the said intent was the grounds for visiting the court, then that was a faulty premise.

“The law is very clear. The bill is in the state that it is, to the extent that it has not been assented to by the President to become a law, it remains a declaration of intention by Parliament.

“So, you can not challenge a declaration of intention in the court of law. Your cause of action cannot arise upon a declaration of intention so that school of thought is faulty. It is built on a faulty premise. I am ready to file an amicus in respect of anybody who will go to challenge this matter.

“Let the law be assented to and given effect as law probably so-called. Then the validity in terms of its constitutionality can be challenged. But until we get there, any call for any person to proceed to the Supreme Court is premature,” he told host, Evans Mensah.

He continued that last year, some individuals proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the controversial bill but the court said a bill cannot be challenged unless it becomes law.  

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has reassured the international community of Ghana’s commitment to upholding human rights despite the passage of the bill.

Addressing concerns during a diplomatic engagement, the President emphasised that Ghana remains steadfast in its long-standing reputation for respecting human rights and adherent to the rule of law.

He clarified that the Bill is facing a legal challenge at the Supreme Court and that until a decision is arrived at, no action would be taken by his government on the private Member’s bill.

“l am aware that last week’s bi-partisan passage by Parliament of the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, on a Private Member’s motion, has raised considerable anxieties in certain quarters of the diplomatic community and amongst some friends of Ghana that she may be turning her back on her, hitherto, enviable, longstanding record on human rights observance and attachment to the rule of law. I want to assure you that no such back-sliding will be contemplated or occasioned.”

However, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Bill has yet to reach his desk for any formal action.

He indicated that any decision he makes regarding the Bill would be contingent upon the outcome of the lawsuit filed against it in the Supreme Court.

“I think it will serve little purpose to go, at this stage, into the details of the origin of this proposed law, which is yet to reach my desk. But, suffice it to say, that I have learnt that, today, a challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court by a concerned citizen to the constitutionality of the proposed legislation,” the President added.

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