The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Gregory Andrews has been threatened with assault by Member of Parliament Samuel Nartey George, over the diplomat’s ongoing advocacy for the rights of LGBTQI communities in Ghana.
George’s statements have been criticised by organisations like Activism Ghana for misplaced priorities.
“Sam George like many other politicians in Ghana, promote hate against LGBTQI people, using it to cover their abysmal performance as leaders Instead of tackling REAL PROBLEMS such as no-beds at clinics, corruption and others, he has been busy promoting homophobia,” said the organisation in a post on Twitter.
Sam George like many other politicians in Ghana, promote hate against LGBTQI people, using it to cover their abysmal performance as leaders
— Activism Ghana (@ActivismGhana) May 15, 2021
Ghanians Want To Ban LGBTQI+ From Holding Public Meetings
Ghana, is a country where the rights of LGBTQI people continue to be severely eroded. In February, a just recently opened community centre set up by LGBTQ+ Rights Ghana in the capital city of Accra, was closed down following an anti-gay uproar.
According to a recent survey by the Africa Center for International Law and Accountability, 87% of Ghana’s population support a ban on LGBTQI people holding public meetings, and 75% approve of homophobic statements by state officials and religious leaders.
It is because of these sentiments that Andrews recently came under fire for declaring that “to protect human rights sometimes our culture needs to adapt and that doesn’t mean being a different culture, it means accepting people for who they are, especially when they are not causing harm to anyone else.”
“That is why on the LGBTQ+ issues, Australia will really encourage Ghana’s Parliament not to pass legislation that would discriminate the LGBTQ+ community or remove their rights or to make it illegal for people to advocate for their Human Rights.”
‘I’ll beat him in this town’
In response George said to a journalist with Starr Chat “I warned him that I’ll beat him in this town.”
When told that by the host that he can’t do that, George responded: “Why can’t I do that? If he decides not to behave like a diplomat, I will treat him like a non-diplomat.
“Because a diplomat has signed up to respect the laws of Ghana. The laws of Ghana do not allow you to do homosexuality.”
George has continued to be a strong advocate for the outright criminalisation of homosexuality in Ghana, including when he and five other parliamentarians served notice to sponsor a bi-partisan Private Members Bill to proscribe and criminalise the advocacy and practice of homosexuality.
George has previously described gay sex as a mental disorder, saying “God gave you one hole to enter. Sweet like honey. And there is another hole that is the sewage track. Then you say it is the exit that you want to enter. How can you say you are not mentally deranged?
George has also claimed homosexuality is not a human rights issue but a ‘lifestyle chosen by people due to their pervasive preferences.’
In the interview with Starr chat, George went on to add that Andrews had no right to dictate to Ghanaians. “Then you, with your two left legs, you leave Australia and come to Ghana to come and redeem your image…as somebody who doesn’t know his identity, [he] has come to Ghana here and try and reinvent himself and then wants to now come and dictate to us that we must legalise supi supi (gay sex).”
“You look at Asantehene, Ya Na, Ga Mantse, Okyenhene and tell us that our culture is not correct and because our culture is not correct, he will come and teach us what our culture is and that we should allow our children to start doing supi supi.”
Award-winning Ghanaian journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni, was one of the first to take to Twitter to denounce the politician.
If the laws of Ghana do not allow homosexuality, those same laws don't allow an MP to beat up a diplomat. Sam George, this is terrible. And it's a disgrace to the people you represent. Apologise to them and the Australian High Commissioner.
— Manasseh Azure Awuni (@Manasseh_Azure) May 15, 2021
“If the laws of Ghana do not allow homosexuality, those same laws don’t allow an MP to beat up a diplomat. Sam George, this is terrible. And it’s a disgrace to the people you represent. Apologise to them and the Australian High Commissioner,” tweeted Awuni.