It seems Nigeria’s obsession with controlling the lives of LGBT people is finally spreading to its neighbours.
This is something we’ve all expected. Ghana has always had laws that criminalised homosexuality, a remnant of repressive British colonial laws.
The laws, which prescribe a three-year jail sentence for persons convicted of homosexuality have been largely ignored, except where they can be used as tools of oppression.
Some Ghanaians hoped that things would change with the country’s new political regime. We were quite naive.
Recently the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo while giving a speech to the Christian organization Synod of the Global Evangelical Church, backtracked on his original statements to eventually decriminalise homosexuality.
Instead, in his speech, he reaffirmed his commitment to his Christian faith and informed the church that he has no plans to go against his personal faith and decriminalize homosexuality.
This is a pretty common stance among West African religious leaders seeking to court the influence of religious leaders as a backup plan for winning elections. It seems things aren’t ending here.
Ghana’s recently formed National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values (NCPHSRFV) has announced that it has created a gay ‘cure’ therapy forum and successfully ‘convinced’ 400 people to join the forum.
The forum is apparently a conference with the theme: “Exploring the Myths surrounding LGBT rights”, and the 400 attendees will be given ‘counselling’ and ‘reformation’.
We are not quite sure what Moses Foh-Amoaning, the chief facilitator of the NCPHSRFV means by ‘reformation’, but if the global phenomenon of gay conversion camps are anything to go by, the attendees will be subjected to forced psychological conditioning and maybe even verbal abuse and torture, considering according to him the 400 volunteer subjects ‘agreed’ to undergo counselling after a ‘sexual evangelism’ programme.
Until we hear from these volunteers, it is safe to assume that these volunteers have been coerced into joining this group and to watch closely to see how this plays out.
But this is a very bad precedent for the future of LGBT rights in Ghana.
Conversion camps are generally a secret affair, but to have one so brazenly displayed means that LGBT persons in the country will experience more oppression in the coming months. Be vigilant.
The event will take place in an undisclosed location in the country.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.