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“We left Ghana over LGBTQ+ Threats:Three Ghanaians Labeled Homosexuals Lament

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Three Ghanaian nationals whose whereabouts are unknown say they are unable to return home for fear of being attacked and lynched on suspicion of being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Amid rising homophobia against persons alleged to be gays, lesbians and transgenders, the three, Gerald Jones Osei-Twum,, Max Obeng and John Osei Twum decided to leave the shores of Ghana to seek protection elsewhere. This was after the three, had narrowly escaped death in several occasions, when some angry mob wielding machete and other offensive weapons stormed their home at Poase, a suburb of Takoradi in the Western Region.

After that horrifying experience, they continued to receive death threats on phone with some prompting them to leave the country for safety or made to face their wrath. In the wake of the adopted Anti-Homosexuality Bill by Ghana’s parliament, they left the country to seek refuge in Europe to end the consistent threat and hostilities. A similar incident occurred in December 2015, where one Gerald Osei-Twum Jones and Max Obeng, were chased out of a pub in Nungua for his alleged involved homosexuality. Sources have it that John Osei Twum and Emmanuel Gyamprah who were also chased out of a pub in Madina, for alleged involved in homosexuality is a brother of Gerald Jones Osei-Twum.

Narrating his ordeal to Amaghana.com, Jones Osei-Twum said they suffered constant attacks from some community members who felt they were involved in homosexuality. He lamented that they are unable to return home for fear of being victimized. He said most people in Ghana are terrified to exercise their rights freely due to such insinuations. Jones Osei-Twum further expressed fear for the gay community in Ghana and challenged anti gay promoters to give people hearing before they are tagged and labeled as members.

It will be recalled in January 2019 when a group calling itself the Safety Empire Vigilante went on a violent spree to hunt for alleged homosexuals in parts of Accra including Nima and Madina, which are predominantly Muslim communities. The idea was to identify and chase out suspected gay individuals from their hideout. Since the said incident, persons suspected to be gays and lesbians are being monitored for potential attacks despite criticism from the international community and human right advocacy groups. Jones Osei-Twum who declined to mention his present location hinted that they had plans of visiting Ghana to celebrate the Xmas festivities with families and love ones, but they cannot risk being lynched and stigmatized for something they know nothing about.

He described his experience as a case of mistaken identity. He is therefore pleading with security agencies to exercise their constitutional duty to protect every citizen of the country, irrespective of one’s socio- political, ethnic or religious affiliation. Debate as to whether Ghana’s Parliament will proceed in passing the Anti-Gay Bill laid before the house, remain a sensitive but toughest decision to be made by the country’s lawmakers.

Quite critical is the fact that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, whose position remain unchanged on the issue, says due to the critical nature of the issue, President Akuffo Addo will have no choice but to assent to the bill when finally passed into law. This goes without gainsaying that the Anti LGBTQ +draft bill is likely to be accorded a new legislation as done in Uganda.

Some legislators argued that the bill on the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaians Family Values will not violate any international treaty, urging sponsors to step up efforts at getting the bill passed into law. Ghana will be among the few African to pass such a legislation which seeks to criminalize homosexuality. The bill has already received unwavering support of majority of lawmakers and religious leaders in the country. The past years have witnessed people fleeing persecution based on their sexual orientation or gender identity of which Ghana is no exception.

Kofi Asare : Freelance

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