June 13, 2024
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Anti-LGBTQ Bill: Mahama condemns Presidency’s letter to Parliament, describes it as unlawful

Flagbearer of the opposition NDC, John Dramani Mahama has condemned the letter from the Presidency directing Parliament not to transmit the Bill on Human Sexual Rights and Family Values to President Akufo-Addo for assent.

According to him, it is unlawful for the Secretary to the President to author such a letter. The document, which is circulating on social media, highlighted two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction before the Supreme Court.

But speaking at a Town Hall meeting at Banda as part of a tour of the Oti Region, Mr Mahama said such a directive to Parliament contradicts the dictates of the 1992 Constitution.

“We all know that our tradition is against LGBTQ. No religion in Ghana accepts it. Christianity does not accept it, Islam does not, and even the traditionalists also reject it. It is a taboo in Ghana.

“Parliament recently passed a Bill to be sent to the President for his approval. But he has refused to sign because he claims the case is in court so he will wait for the pronouncement by the Supreme Court.https://www.youtube.com/embed/PkbmCGmFgHs

“But this morning I woke up to see a letter from the Secretary to the President to Parliament warning them against transmitting the letter to the Presidency. But everyone who is a lawyer will tell you that the President’s secretary has no authority to write such a letter because Parliament is obligated by the constitution to send every Bill to the President. So you cannot tell Parliament not to do its job,” the former President said.

His comment follows a similar assertion made by Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu, who has accused the Office of the President of hindering Parliament’s work.

Addressing the House on Tuesday, Mr Iddrisu stressed that the letter, which seeks to prevent Parliament from performing its duties, reflects President Akufo-Addo’s “quest for predominance” over other organs of state including the legislature.

“That is unacceptable and must be fought by all persons who love democracy and cherish the principles and values of the 1992 Constitution. This is a monumental threat to Ghana’s democracy and a monumental threat to Parliament as an institution. By Article 93 we are clothed with legislative authority and mandate,” he had stressed.

Backing this stance, the 2024 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama said the tone of the letter was also not acceptable.

“If you study how the letter was written, the tone was disrespectful. He (Secretary to the President) wrote the letter as if he has more authority than Parliament,” he added.

Background

The Office of the President has officially requested Parliament to refrain from transmitting the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values, commonly referred to as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, to President Akufo-Addo for his assent.

In a letter addressed to Parliament on Monday, March 18, and signed by the Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, the request was made in light of two pending applications for an order of interlocutory injunction currently before the Supreme Court.

The letter emphasised that it would be improper for Parliament to proceed with transmitting the Bill to President Akufo-Addo for any action until the matters before the court are addressed.

Furthermore, it was disclosed that the Attorney-General has advised the President against taking any action regarding the Bill until the issues raised by the ongoing legal suits are resolved by the Supreme Court.

“It is the understanding of this Office that both applications have also been duly served on Parliament. Therefore, it would be improper for you to transmit the Bill to the President and equally improper for this Office to receive the Bill until the Supreme Court determines the matters raised in the suits,”

“In the circumstances, you are kindly requested to cease from transmitting the Bill to the President until the matters before the Supreme Court are resolved,” it added.

Additionally, the letter revealed that on Thursday, March 14, Parliament attempted to transmit the Bill to the President while he and some cabinet members were attending a retreat at Peduase.

“It has come to the attention of this Office that while the President and other senior officials of the Presidency were at Peduase for a Cabinet Retreat on Thursday, 14th March 2024, you attempted to submit the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024 (the “Bill”‘) to Jubilee House for the President to signify his assent or otherwise to the Bill.”

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