Was it British Premier Benjamin Disraeli or American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King that said, “Today’s radical may turn out to be tomorrow’s moderate?” In my fifty-something years sojourn on this planet, I have seen too many unbelievable things happen with my naked eyes that I am now hesitant in predicting that homosexuality won’t ever become a reality in the land of my birth. I try as much as I cannot to be self-centered. But, in the specific matter of accepting same-sex relationships; I wish it delayed till I move on into the hereafter. If succeeding generations will embrace man marrying man, woman marrying woman; Almighty God, spare me the sight and may it fall on generations after me, I pray.
Can we, indeed, prevent the acceptance of same-sex relationships indefinitely? Sure, we can? If so, why am I hesitant and only hoping to buy time? Well, as a people, we aren’t resolute enough. Our sense of direction has never been clear enough as a nation, with the probable exception of the era dominated by Kwame Nkrumah. Anything and everything ‘globalisation’ or ‘civilisation’ we embrace. Unlike the Japanese and some other nations that have kept their culture; we have – at best – a mixed culture today. I’m a bit comforted by Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling out of the legalisation of same-sex in his Kenya. But, I’m quite unnerved by President Akufo-Addo telling Al-Jazeera that he thinks it is bound to happen. We can stop it from happening, just as the Western World continues to criminalise the practice of marrying more than one person. Can we? In principle, yes, we can; in practice, no, we aren’t likely going to do it. We’re likely to hide behind complicated legal arguments that mean next to nothing to accept the abomination. “The homosexuals too have rights, bla bla bla.”
We are likely to feign helpless on the excuse that “Britain gives us this and that; American investment is so much here…” We might actually quietly welcome Theresah May’s lawyers to rewrite our laws to legalise same-sex.
I think I know the Christian convictions of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. I think he knows that the about 70% of Ghanaians that profess Christianity, 15% that profess Islam and the 7% that are of the African Traditional Religion faith all abhor gay relationships. He needs not be told that, were it to come to having an eye on the ballot box in making a choice, the chunk of his constituency; the chunk of the New Patriotic Party’s constituency is the Christian constituency. You don’t need anybody to prove that one to you. He better makes his position on gay affairs crystal clear.
It is also important because he is our leader for the next three or seven years. It is important against the background of the nebulous answer he gave to Al-Jazeera, an answer that at best means – someday – gay acceptance is bound to happen in Ghana because interest groups will pile on the pressure. It is important because it neither denounces same-sex, nor dissociates him from same-sex, the way John Evans Fiifi Atta-Mills, as President, told David Cameron off and rejected the proposal that his regime should accept homosexuality in Ghana. It is important for Nana President to come out again to – hopefully – repudiate same-sex because his Press Secretary, Eugene Arhin, Wednesday this week, told the media that Nana Akufo-Addo maintains his old position on gay. It is important because while he and his party were in opposition, certain close relations of his elected to advocate the rights of gays and lesbians in ways unusual in Ghana; and, today, some of those same people are holding quite sensitive positions close to the President.
The 25th of next month has been tentatively fixed by a motley collection of agitated Christians, Muslims, ATR practitioners and public issue discussants to hit the streets of Accra in disapproval of the looming gay acculturation. Nana President should be told that any subject that brings our ‘Jews and the Gentiles’ together is of an extraordinary importance to Ghanaians, and comparable to a big Black Stars’ win. You better be on the watch-out. Indeed, it would be a welcome relief, were he to preempt this demonstration, which is likely to be replicated throughout the Christian South and Muslim North, by coming out to reject same-sex. If he ignores the forewarning, he does so at his own peril and at the peril of the party that rose from taking 30.7% share of the presidential election vote in 1992 to 53.7% in 2016 under his leadership. Nana, if you allow the anger of 92% of Ghanaians to rise against you, you do so to let down the hundreds of Orthodox, Pentecostal, Charismatic Church and Muslim leaders that interceded for you in your days of need when your adversaries taunted you. The women who fasted and wailed unto the Lord to bring a change in Ghana by making you President from January of 2017 would grief over such a disappointment.
Nana, there are some likely to point out to you that the Anglican Church you fellowship in is from Britain and it is the British Prime Minister that has now realised the mistake her forebears made by criminalising homosexuality in the colonies. They may argue that you cannot be more Catholic than the Pope. Simply tell them, late-comer Paul turned out to be worthier of service to the mission of Christ than all his earlier disciples. Add that the type of democracy practiced in Britain and the West is akin to what the Greeks evolved several centuries ago; the fact that the Greeks abandoned that good ideology for socialism and other options never stopped the spread of Western-style democracy. Tell them that, of a truth, Britain didn’t come to (mistakenly) criminalise same-sex for us. Long before Mungo Park arrived in West Africa, we put to death any man that had canal knowledge of another man or an animal. Lucky offenders were excommunicated to wander in the wilderness till wild animals devoured them.
Sir, bottom-line is a decent measure of self-reliance. This same British compelling you to grant space for what even animals detest have a saying that “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” Your drive towards weaning Ghana off foreign aid will be meaningless, unless it is linked up with the total liberation of our country such that no one dictates to us what we should import and what we should export; what we should marry and what we shouldn’t marry. And, mark my words, Your Excellency, your dream to leave this country a more independent country than you came to meet it will remain an illusion still to be pursued, unless you link it up with the total liberation of the African continent in the relevant sense. For, an imposition of culture, economic sanctions or aggression at any part of the continent is a threat to all other parts of the continent.
Difficult, yes, it is to get the whole of Africa pursuing integration a policy of weaning themselves off dependence on ex-colonial masters. But, as they say, “If you think education is expensive; try ignorance.” If you think playing effective roles in Africa to get the continent independent of other continents is difficult; try getting Western Europe to legalise multiple marriages. That is future impossible tense, as kids in my village will say.
…with A. C. Ohene (firstname.lastname@example.org)