Ghana overthrew the British colonials in 1957. As one of the African continent’s most powerful political symbols, one would hope the Ghanaian government would take a stand against homophobia. Unfortunately, they have not.
As the 50th anniversary of Ghanaian independence looms large, British activist/politico Peter Tatchell penned a letter President John Kufuor, which reads, “As Ghana celebrates 50 years of independence, it is time to repeal the anti-gay laws.” No word on whether Kufuor wrote a response – or even read Tatchell’s note.
It’s unfortunately easy to imagine a government turning its back on its gay citizens. In such cases, gay and their allies hope human rights activists will pick up the queer cause. Not in Ghana.
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice deputy director Richard Quayson admits he and his organization are hesitant to offer homos a helping hand:
In the first place, I do not know if I want to promote homosexuality in Ghana. As a human rights organization, if someone comes forward and says their rights are violated, it is my duty to protect them. As a Ghanaian, I don’t think I can openly go out and promote it in the country.
Perhaps Quayson should change his organization’s name to Commission on Hetero Rights, then.
While Quayson and Kufuor drag their feet, Ghanaian gays remain shrouded in fearful secrecy. 23-year old Joseph Hilary Afful, who has been assaulted for his gay ways, tells The Statesman, “We have to hide ourselves if even walking in the afternoon, someone can throw stones at you.” Afful hopes that his countrymen can see it in their hearts to face the truth, “Nobody came to earth to learn gay life. We were born with it. It is not about having sex. It is two men in love.” And women, too, of course…