What Kenyan President Ruto Said About Gay Rights That Is Different From Akufo-Addo’s

This week, there have been a lot of talk about the subject of same-sex rights in Africa, mainly also because of the visit of the Vice President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris, to the continent.

The visit of the first female vice president of the USA to the continent has not only brought to the fore revived conversations on the legalisation or not of LGBTQ+ rights, but it has also tested the stances of African leaders on the subject.

Having made her first African stop in Ghana, when Kamala held a joint press conference with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and she was asked a question on the subject, she said what many have known her to say on the matter.

"I feel very strongly about the importance of supporting the freedom and supporting the fighting for equality among all people, and that all people be treated equally. I will also say that this is an issue that we consider, and I consider to be a human rights issue, and that will not change," she said.

What Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said about the LGBTQ+ conversation:

Following a question asked by an international journalist during the presser, President Akufo-Addo, first of all, clarified a statement made by the journalist, telling him that Ghana doesn’t currently have any legislation on the matter.

He further stated that he acknowledges that the bill has been proposed and that it is being reviewed by parliament.

"First of all, we don't have any such legislation here in Ghana. A bill has been proposed to the Parliament of Ghana, which has all kinds of ramifications which is now being considered by the parliament.

"It hasn't been passed, so the statement that there is legislation in Ghana to that effect is not accurate. No legislation.

"The bill is going through the parliament, it's going through the parliament, the Attorney General has found it necessary to speak to the committee about it regarding the constitutionality or otherwise of several of its provisions and the Parliament is dealing with it but at the end of the process I will come in.”

But the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, was not happy with this response.

Reacting to this, the Speaker first told some religious leaders that the comments by Kamala Harris was an imposition.

“What is democracy? That someone should have to dictate to me what is good and what is bad? Unheard of, because we have decided to devalue ourselves and go begging? Come on, we have more than enough. God has created more than enough for every person... The Bill will be passed,” he said.

Touching on Akufo Addo’s comment, he said that there is no way the president can intervene in the processes of parliament.

“There’s no way he can intervene. That answer he gave, that it is now before parliament and when it gets to a state that he has to, he will come in. Hey, please.

“This is legislation, this is not execution. Wait until we pass it, and we will direct you to execute it, that is where you come in. That is why we are the representatives of the people. In terms of the law which is part of the policy, we will finalise it, then the executive has the authority to implement it. Let’s get this clear,” he explained.

What Kenyan president, William Ruto, said in a recent interview about the LGBTQ+ conversation:

Speaking in an interview with a German broadcaster, the east African president stressed that his country will stick strictly to what their customs, traditions and 2010 constitution says of marriage and relationships.

He added that with that, his country has no issue with how marriage is interpreted or understood in other jurisdictions.

“In Kenya, the only understanding of relationships around marriage is around men marrying women, that is the context of relationship that exists in Kenya and is provided for in our constitution.

“It (same-sex marriage) can happen elsewhere, we have no issue with people celebrating their issues in America and in other countries, that is their choosing,” he stressed when asked about a recent anti-same-sex law promulgated in neighbouring Uganda.

“In Kenya, we have taken a position, the position of the Constitution, the position of the laws as it is today, if that is what they (Ugandans) want to do, we cannot dictate to Germans or French or Americans or Ugandans if that is what they want to do.

“That is theirs to do, for us as a country, we have taken a position that is informed by our culture, our tradition, our Constitution and our laws,” he stressed.

There have, however, been many conversations being had on social media about what Ghana’s president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said on the subject, vis-à-vis his earlier statements on the same, and the stance he made on it in this latest comment.

In the estimation of the CNN, President Akufo-Addo’s recent comment means that he has softened his stance on the “draconian anti-LGBTQ bill.”

The bill in parliament is still being considered and there is no indication of when it would be passed, although the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has given an indication that it is one of the bills on the high-priority list of Ghana’s parliament.