President of Ghana John Atta Mills stated that his government would never legalize homosexuality even as Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom has stated that he will push to cut the aid going into the nation. President Mills is pushing back against PM Cameron’s threat.
Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries, and gays are often the target of violent hate campaigns. Mills stated that Ghana is committed to upholding human rights as provided by the nation’s constitution but “I as president of this nation, will never initiate or support any attempts to legalise homosexuality in Ghana.” Ghana is seen as one of Africa’s most stable and successful democracies.
With regards to the push to further criminalize homosexuality in Africa, often in brutal ways, Britain has warned that it will review aid to any nations that persecute homosexuals. Britain has already suspended some £19m in aid to Malawi because of their treatment of gays, and the warning was sounded by Cameron about Ghana and Uganda’s intention to further criminalize homosexuality.
Ghana, which is a former British colony, recieves some £90m a year from Britain’s development agency DFID. Mills stated that “Britain made these statements that reflect [its] societal norms and ideals but [it] does not have the right to direct other sovereign nations as to what they should do, especially where their societal norms and ideals are different from those which exist in Prime Minister Cameron’s society.”
This threat has come as Ghana’s minister for the Western region called, this past July, for the arrest of anyone found practicing gay sex following local media reports that there was an increase in homosexuality in the region.
Still, Mills understands that Ghana gets a lot of money from donors, but he refuses to take the money with strings attached. The thing is, it is up to Britain to decide if they can afford to give that money. Either it is time to play nice or to give up the money.