Anti-LGBTQI Bill: We’ve not been sponsored by any donor agency, says Audrey Gadzekpo

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    The 18-member group says the anti-LGBTQI Bill violates virtually all fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the 1992 constitution

    Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, a former dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, has categorically denied assertions that the group of academics and critics of the anti-LGBTQI Bill received funding from donor agencies to kick against the draft law.

    Speaking with Kofi Abotsi on Town Hall Talk on Asaase Radio on Friday (8 October), Gadzekpo said the group members’ decision to petition Parliament is motivated by the fact that they are citizens of Ghana and there is a need to protect the country’s democracy.

    “… I want to categorically say no [we have not accepted any funding from donors] and we don’t need to and we are not the kind who have ever been motivated in our work by funders.

    “In my work as somebody who advocates for media rights, you don’t see me being funded by anybody. It’s motivated by the fact that we are citizens of this country and when you do have laws that are inimical … we ought to speak up,” she said.

    Space for debate
    Professor Gadzekpo added: “There is too much silence around important issues in this country and that doesn’t get us anywhere.

    “Whether it’s corruption, abuse of power, abuse of gender rights, there’s too much silence among people who can speak up, and we don’t think that’s healthy.

    “We are in a democracy and that’s why we need to keep the space for discussion of controversial issues – issues that people may not like, issues that may go against people’s personal beliefs – we ought to keep that space safe, so that we can have discussions and move forward and progress.”

    “Dirty tactics”
    Professr Gadzekpo said she was saddened by the recent turn of events and the dirty tactics being deployed by people who disagree with the group of academics against the anti-LGBTI bill.

    She added, “I think it’s unfair and it’s playing very dirty for people to impute that we have any other motivation besides a love for our country like they are purporting to have …

    “I’m pointing out to them why it is that if they pass a bill like this we are going to be damaging our democracy. I’m just distressed by the underhand, really dirty tactics.

    “This is not a political fight and I know that political people tend to fight dirty, but I’m really saddened about it. Because there’ve been times when the same kinds of people, including people who are in our group, have defended, for example, religious freedoms in this country …”

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    The 18-member group says the anti-LGBTQI Bill violates virtually all fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the 1992 constitution
    Photo of Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne Joseph Appiah-Dolphyne Send an emailOctober 9, 2021 5,118
    Anti-LGBTQI Bill: Professor Audrey Gadzekpo is one of 18 prominent human rights campaigners who oppose the bill
    Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, a former dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, has categorically denied assertions that the group of academics and critics of the anti-LGBTQI Bill received funding from donor agencies to kick against the draft law.

    Speaking with Kofi Abotsi on Town Hall Talk on Asaase Radio on Friday (8 October), Gadzekpo said the group members’ decision to petition Parliament is motivated by the fact that they are citizens of Ghana and there is a need to protect the country’s democracy.

    “… I want to categorically say no [we have not accepted any funding from donors] and we don’t need to and we are not the kind who have ever been motivated in our work by funders.

    “In my work as somebody who advocates for media rights, you don’t see me being funded by anybody. It’s motivated by the fact that we are citizens of this country and when you do have laws that are inimical … we ought to speak up,” she said.

    Space for debate
    Professor Gadzekpo added: “There is too much silence around important issues in this country and that doesn’t get us anywhere.

    “Whether it’s corruption, abuse of power, abuse of gender rights, there’s too much silence among people who can speak up, and we don’t think that’s healthy.

    “We are in a democracy and that’s why we need to keep the space for discussion of controversial issues – issues that people may not like, issues that may go against people’s personal beliefs – we ought to keep that space safe, so that we can have discussions and move forward and progress.”

    “Dirty tactics”
    Professr Gadzekpo said she was saddened by the recent turn of events and the dirty tactics being deployed by people who disagree with the group of academics against the anti-LGBTI bill.

    She added, “I think it’s unfair and it’s playing very dirty for people to impute that we have any other motivation besides a love for our country like they are purporting to have …

    “I’m pointing out to them why it is that if they pass a bill like this we are going to be damaging our democracy. I’m just distressed by the underhand, really dirty tactics.

    “This is not a political fight and I know that political people tend to fight dirty, but I’m really saddened about it. Because there’ve been times when the same kinds of people, including people who are in our group, have defended, for example, religious freedoms in this country …”

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    A group of 18 prominent Ghanaian citizens has rejected a proposed anti-gay bill in Parliament, saying it constitutes an “impermissible invasion of the inviolability and human dignity” of the LGBTQI community.

    Violation of human rights
    The anti-LGBTQI Bill went through its first reading on 2 August 2021 in Parliament, and consideration of the proposed law is expected to resume in October 2021.

    It was initiated by eight Members of Parliament, led by an opposition MP, Sam George, and seeks explicitly to criminalise lesbianism and sex between men in Ghana.

    But a group led by the renowned legal practitioner Akoto Ampaw has said that the anti-LGBTQI Bill “violates all the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the 1992 constitution”. If passed into law, it would send Ghana to the Dark Ages and an era of lawlessness, the group says.

    “The bill violates virtually all the key fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the constitution, namely the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to assemble, freedom of association and the right to organise, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to human dignity,” Ampaw told a press conference on Monday (4 October).

    Who is in the group?
    Other members of the group are Professor Emerita Takyiwaaa Manuh, the communications specialist Professor Kwame Karikari, Professor Kofi Gyimah-Boadi, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the Department of Communication Studies and former dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Dr Yao Graham, Professor Dzodzi Tsikata of the Institute of African Studies and Professor H Kwasi Prempeh of Centre of Democratic Development (CDD).

    Others are the former secretary general of the Trades Union Congress Kwasi Adu Amankwah, Dr Kojo Asante, Kingsley Ofei-Nkansah, Akunu Dake, Tetteh Hormeku-Ajie, Professor Raymond Atuguba, the dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobbey, Dr Joseph Asunka and Nana Ama Agyemang Asante.

    Source:www.asaaseradio.com