Ghana: Minister Calls for Round Up Of Lesbians and Gays

The Indie has the depressing news:

In a new burst of African homophobia, a government minister in Ghana has drawn support after calling on the country’s intelligence services to track down and arrest all gays and lesbians.

The call from Paul Evans Aidoo, the minister for the Western Region of Ghana, marks the latest in a series of expressions of officially condoned homophobia across the continent, which has previously been seen in Malawi, Uganda and South Africa.

Joy FM, a popular radio station in the capital Accra, reported earlier this week that Mr Aidoo, a Catholic, said: “All efforts are being made to get rid of these people in society.” He called for the Bureau of National Investigations to round up gays and called on landlords and tenants to inform on people they suspect of being homosexual. “Once they have been arrested, they will be brought before the law,” he is reported to have said.

The comments from the National Democratic Congress politician come in the feverish run-up to the 2012 elections in the West African country. There has been controversy over the meaning of a clause in the criminal code of Ghana’s 1992 constitution which condemns “unnatural carnal knowledge”. The constitution guarantees human rights “regardless of race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender”, but does not mention sexuality.

The move by Mr Aidoo has drawn support from other politicians, including the general secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC) who told Radio Gold on Tuesday: “Homosexuality is abhorrent. Media discourse across the world is being dictated by the vulgar opinions of homosexuals. Ghana and probably Africa cannot sustain the menace of homosexuals.”

In other news:

The United KIngdom’s Africa Development Minister, Mr. Stephen O’Brien, will visit Ghana from 21-23 July to review progress of the UK’s development programme in the West African country, according to a statement issued in Accra on Tuesday by the British High Commission.

It said a new plan for the UK’s aid to Ghana, launched in May 2011, focused on achieving substantial results in health and education, as well as supporting private sector growth to create prosperity and jobs.

Mr. Obrien will visit a timber mill at the forefront of sustainable forestry and efficient use of timber; receive a briefing on the Jubilee Oil Field, a world-class field that has rapidly moved from discovery to production; and look at how big companies are working with small retailers to serve consumers in the farthest geographical and economic reaches of the market.

The statement said the Minister would see how businesses like these had helped Ghana become one of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, alongside six others in Africa, and discuss what more could be done to ensure sustainable and equitable growth.

It said Mr. O’Brien would meet Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama, to discuss the economy, oil and gas and development in the north, and the UK government’s existing and future support in these areas.

Here is Stephen O’Brien’s MP”s website.

You might want to write to him, to recommend that he tells the Government of Ghana that, unless it takes immediate action to prevent the persecution of its Lesbian and Gay citizens, Britain will immediately cut its aid package to the country.