Government flexes muscles over UK gay threat

The government of Ghana is, for now, treating with contempt, the UK’s threat to cut down aid to Ghana if the country fails to recognise the rights of gays.

The UK government served notice to African countries, to drop their antiquated anti gay laws or face a slash in aid. The UK Times newspaper reported the country’s Prime Minister David Cameron as saying Britain is no longer prepared to turn a blind eye to nations that victimize sections of society, including homosexuals.

UK’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell could also reduce aid to Uganda and Ghana unless they drop laws against gays, the Mail reported.

However, Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, told Joy News on Wednesday that the government would not kowtow to external pressures such as the one being mounted by the UK, to take decisions that are inimical to its constitution and culture.

“It is important to recognise that Ghana is a sovereign state. Ghana will take a decision or will chart a particular path; it will not do so because we are being threatened by other countries or we are being dictated to by other countries.”

Mr Ablakwa maintained, aside the fact that Ghana has its own constitution and Acts of Parliament, “we have our wills, aspirations, our culture, and those ones will guide us and not what any state or other jurisdiction want, whether they threaten us or not.”

Making reference to the 2011 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance which ranked Ghana 7th with a score of 66, out of the 53 African countries, and 3rd in the Rights category, the Deputy Minister said Ghana will continue to ensure that individuals’ rights are respected.

But reminded that the country will exercise the laws enshrined in its constitution and criminal code, and will only amend a law at the country’s own will.

Nevertheless, he said the government was yet to receive any formal communications from the UK government on the issue.

Already, the UK government has cut aid to Malawi by 19 million dollars after two homosexuals in that country, who held an engagement ceremony, were sentenced to 14 months in hard labour.

But the UK High Commission has issued a rejoinder challenging the claims in the media.

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