Rightify Ghana, a group affiliated with the LGBTQ+ community, will have a closed-door meeting with Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee over the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill.
The request for a private hearing is to protect the safety of its members.
The Committee, chaired by Kwame Anyimadu Antwi has granted this request. This was confirmed by Ranking Member on the Committee, Bernard Ahiafor, in an interview with JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker Wison.
Mr Bernard Ahiafor said: “Once we are anxious to listen to everybody, whatever it takes to get information from the people – whether useful or not useful, we are in to do it. It is their right.
“Somebody may want to sit before the camera to give you the information. Somebody may not want to sit before the camera and give the information. At the end of the day, we want the information to help us do the law. If they want in-camera, why not, we will grant it to them. The Committee does not have any problem.”
He explained that the request to be granted to Rightify Ghana does not amount to discrimination.
“It would have been discrimination if those who sat before the camera requested to sit in-camera and we refused. That would have been discriminatory. Ask and you will be given. He who asked is being given.”
The Ranking Member also hinted at Rightify Ghana being the last group the Committee will see on the consideration of the LGBTQ Bill.
“After we have listened to the last group of people then we will have a Committee meeting and then look at the road map. I believe clause by clause, it will not take us so long a time and we will be able to present our report to the plenary for discussion. It is possible for us to do that at this meeting.”
According to Bernard Ahiafor, the Committee would have already finished its stakeholder engagements if not for the 2022 State of the Nation Address to be delivered by President Akufo-Addo.
“We should have finished this but for the fact that we thought the President will deliver the State of the Nation Address earlier and once a message of the state of the nation is delivered, then we will have to debate that particular message and during the debate, it would not be possible for us to be having frequent committee meetings.
We thought that early this month, there would be at least a message on the state of the nation.”
He noted that for 2 to 3 weeks, “we have not scheduled a stakeholder engagement due to foreseeability of the President coming to deliver an address on the state of the nation.”
“But when we realized the state of the nation address will not be forthcoming soon, then we have decided to continue our stakeholder engagement and we are left with the last sitting to call it a day,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was to deliver the 2022 State of the Nation Address on Thursday, March 3, 2022, but the Business Committee in Parliament said the President will not address the nation on the said date.
Speaking on the floor of the House on Friday, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, noted that a new date would be communicated soon.
Meanwhile, Bernard Ahiafor has assured the commitment of the Committee’s clerk to complete its report on engagements held so far.
“I can assure you the clerks of the Committee are already writing their report. They will only integrate the clause by clause consideration and propose amendments coming from the committee.”
On Thursday, March 10, Parliament’s Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee held its fourth public hearing over the LGBTQ+ Bill discussion.