Ghana’s Latest LGBT Rights Kerfuffle Reveals Broad Ignorance of Activists’ Goals

Ghana’s Latest LGBT Rights Kerfuffle Reveals Broad Ignorance of Activists’ Goals
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo greets supporters, Accra, Ghana, Dec. 8, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo offered opinions on everything from the state of democracy in his country to child marriage and Donald Trump. But of all the topics covered in the 25-minute segment, it was his responses to a series of questions on LGBT rights that seemed to attract the most attention, at least domestically.

Ghana’s criminal code outlaws same-sex sexual acts, grouping them under a category of offenses referred to as “unnatural carnal knowledge.” When asked by the interviewer, Jane Dutton, why the law remained on the books, Akufo-Addo said he did not believe “a sufficiently strong coalition has emerged” to make public opinion more favorable toward LGBT Ghanaians. He went on to say that such a change was “bound to happen,” and that it would be brought into effect by “the activities of individuals [and] groups” in a process similar to what he described having witnessed decades ago as a student in England.

For the time being, though, Akufo-Addo said the issue was not of much interest to most Ghanaians. “At the moment I don’t feel, I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying this is something that we need even deal with,” he said. “It is not, so far, a matter which is on the agenda.”

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